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.
Homeless Support Services are overseen by Coordinator Conner Wild, Associate 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, telephone access, clothing, information, games, a small library, bathrooms, hygiene products, hot coffee, conversation, and a safe space to escape the streets.
We also organize a biannual trip for those homeless interested in attending, one being a picnic at Devil’s Lake, the other being a three day retreat to Bethel Horizons. In addition, our staff and volunteers are willing to help in any way possible including resume writing, job applications, housing applications, medical and legal referrals, acquiring SSI/Disability/Veterans’ benefits, obtaining IDs, and much more. All are welcome regardless of religious affiliation.
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.
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