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The Madison Commons: The city and county’s take on Madison’s day shelter

On February 5, the Daytime Warming Shelter was featured in an article written by Leah Linscheid of The Madison Commons. The article is Part I in a series looking at where the city and county meet on homeless services.

Part I: The city and county’s take on Madison’s day shelter

By Leah Linscheid

Tim sits at a table reading a dog-eared paperback at the daytime warming shelter on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue. He glances occasionally at the congregation of people gathered around an old tube television playing a movie from the ‘80s, then looks back at his book.

“As long as you aren’t drunk, or aren’t causing an uproar, they don’t give you a hard time here,” he says of the shelter’s volunteers, who are managed by director Sarah Gillmore.

Tim, who asked that his last name not be used, has been a part of Madison’s homeless population – a community of individuals nearly 700 strong, according to Ald. Scott Resnick – for five years. During that time, he has been in and out of jail, a place he considers the only sustained roof over his head in years.

In the evenings, Tim camps out at a shelter near the capitol square provided by the Grace Episcopal Church. Since its opening in late November, he spends his days at this temporary shelter on East Washington Avenue, which is affiliated with Porchlight Inc.

The shelter, opened and paid for by Dane County, offers much more than last year’s, now-closed, daytime warming shelter just a block down the street, said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s assistant Jeff Kostelic.

“This one’s a little different from the other one near [the former Occupy Madison camp], which the city funded, and it didn’t really do anything. It was just an empty building with heat,” Kostelic said. “[The new shelter] actually provides a short term solution for some of the community’s problems.”

Beyond offering a warm place to rest during Wisconsin’s winter months, the shelter also provides counselors for drug and alcohol issues, advice for individuals looking to expand their job skills, and free daily lunch.

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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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