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Unfair Treatment At The Men’s Drop-in Shelters

Unfair Treatment At The Men’s Drop-in Shelters

by Al Muhaymin

On February 5th, 2013 at approximately 10:30 P.M, I was at shelter two when the Porchlight night shelter manager on duty came out of the office, screaming that someone had stolen his bag with his movies and keys. He then made the personal decision to check every person’s bag, which is a clear violation of our civil rights as an american citizen. To further add insult to injury, the staff member threatened to put anyone out of the shelter if they didn’t allow him to search their bags and made it known that he didn’t care who we told.

This staff member has been known to create problems among the shelter guests. On the night in question, this staff member allowed several shelter guests to drink from two half gallon bottles of alcohol and failed to put them out. This, and the fact that there is a heavy gang presence and drug use and sales within the shelters, makes this a dangerous and volatile situation.

There was a young man that was actually robbed of his Social Security check. My question is what’s really going on here in the homeless shelters of Madison, Wisconsin?

At the Day Warming Center, the staff and volunteers strive to help the homeless people that really want the help in getting employment and housing. My only problem is that they divide the center and have a place so that people have a quiet place in which to accomplish and meet their goals to change their lives, and for those that don’t want to do anything with their lives, provides a hangout in the television area or dining area.

It’s bad enough that we are homeless, but as shelter guests, we deserve the respect as human beings and not be treated like animals that an abusive master yell’s at. We are out here walking these streets day after day and night after night to go from one shelter to another.

It would not surprise me if a class action law is filed against the Porchlight staff member that conducted the illegal search of our personal property, which is as written in the Constitution as a violation of our rights. I, as the writer of this story, am in no way slandering Porch Light as I am stating the facts of this incident. They just need to put qualified people in place to effectively manage the shelters.

Most recently, I encountered an incident in which, if a lack of security and preventive measures had not existed, a man with a handgun would not of snuck in and had plans to shoot another man because they got into an argument.

My stay at the shelter just got complicated due to the fact that I’m often afraid to go to sleep in these shelters because I fear for my life.

– Al R. Muhaymin


About Operation Welcome Home

OWH is a group of homeless people in Madison, WI and their allies organizing around the root causes of homelessness- racism, poverty, and criminalization. We are fighting for housing, jobs, and an end to the criminalization of poverty.


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(608) 371-WARM
Note: You must dial '608' first.


8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(7 days a week, until March 31st)


827 East Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53703
(former Lussier Teen Center)


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