Bethel Homeless Support Services strives to build meaningful relationships with homeless and at-risk individuals while fostering a safe, supportive, and accepting community that honors the dignity and self-respect of every person.
It all started with Eric. On a bitter, winter night in 2009, Eric Manley, one of Madison’s homeless, laid down on the steps of Bethel Lutheran Church and died. Following Eric’s tragic death, close friend, Mark Wilson, and Bethel staff member, Pastor Laura Sutherland, came together to provide a funeral for Eric and to make a positive change in Madison’s homeless community. What began in 2009 as a once-a-week homeless support group has now evolved into a homeless support service center open five days a week.
Homeless Ministry Support Services are overseen by Staff Coordinator Conner Wild, Assistant Coordinator Skyler Van De Weerd, and Executive Director Mark Wilson. Our program revolves around one simple principle: respect. We take the time to develop close relationships with our homeless neighbors so that we are better able to provide support and to assist at risk individuals in finding the necessary services and resources to improve their lives. Aside from support group, our program also offers a computer lab, a book club, telephone access, clothing, information, games, a small library, bathrooms, hygiene products, hot coffee, conversation, and a safe space to esc
Donate your time. Respect is key in this community and can often be gained in one conversation Relationships are the core of this ministry and what make the most difference in helping someone achieve independence, sobriety, housing, or employment. Stop by during the week to say hello, sip a cup of coffee, and enjoy the community.
Today, I am ending my tour as the State St. and Capitol Square Neighborhood Officer. During the last four years that I served in that position, and several years in Patrol Downtown, I have had the honor to get to know not only the members of the homeless community, but those that serve them. I don’t say this lightly: You are making a huge impact, not only in providing services, but as a good neighbor in Downtown Madison, and you do not get the recognition you deserve!
Summer has brought blessings for Bethel’s Homeless Support Services. Three of the guys are graduating from MUM’s “Just Bakery” program and are doing odd jobs around Bethel to earn the funding for their certification. XYZ has generously given those funds.
Did anyone notice the beautiful shiny white paint job on the structure where Lois hangs out? Bethel is proud of these guys! (And the bread they make is very tasty!)
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