Homeless Support Services
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.
What We Offer
Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30am-4:30pm
Homeless Support Services are overseen by Bethel’s Homeless Ministry Board
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, book group and a safe space to escape the streets.
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.
How it All Began
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, evolved into a full service homeless support service center. We are open every Tuesday and Thursday 8:30am-4:30pm.
Madison Homeless Resource Guide This Madison Homeless Resource Guide was compiled by Tami Fleming and done in cooperation with many Homeless Service Consortium Agencies and Advocates. It is intended to help any and all first responders find the information they may need to assist a homeless individual or family immediately from a smartphone or computer.
Volunteer with Homeless Support Services Tuesdays & Thursdays; 8:30am-4:30pm All are welcome to volunteer with us! Whether you’re retired, looking to give back to your community, experiencing homelessness, wanting to keep busy, need community service hours, whatever your reason…this is a great opportunity for all! Choose from one (or more) of the following Volunteer Roles:
Hear Our Stories
Read below to witness the heartwarming difference our program can make in the lives of our homeless friends & neighbors.
We’d love to hear from you. 312 Wisconsin Avenue Madison, WI 53703-2108 View map
Spiritual Support Group
The Spiritual Support Group meets each Tuesday at 10:30am in the Pentecost room. A large group gathers to share their stories in a unique support system and time of fellowship. The group closes their time with a prayer for all and then everyone enjoys lunch together. On the first Tuesday of the month, we celebrate the month’s birthdays with cake!
Each Thursday at 10am we will gather to discuss a book of interest to all. Books will be provided.
Every year, we enjoy a three day outing to Bethel Horizons. We have enjoyed crafting pottery at Art Ventures, hiking around the property, scaling the ropes course, stargazing, wonderful meals, and a service of communion! It is a wonderful time to get out of the city and enjoy nature and some time with God and one another.
This excursion offers Madison’s homeless community the opportunity to seek respite from the daily struggles of homelessness, connect with nature through the various outdoor activities, get to know one another, and find inner peace. It is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful and important activities that Bethel provides.
National Coalition for the Homeless – General information regarding homelessness in the US.
Street Pulse Newspaper – Local, volunteer-run newspaper the employs homeless and at-risk individuals as vendors, engage homeless issues and keep the public informed.
City of Madison Homeless – Data and reports about homelessness in Madison and Dane County.
Homeless Ministry on the News
Bethel’s Homeless Ministry was recently on the news. The ministry received crocheted sleeping mats out of recycled plastic bags from volunteers near Chicago. Watch the video
Homeless Ministry Needs Items Donated
The Homeless Ministry Board seeks the following for our guests:
MENS pants, jeans, underwear, socks, belts, light jackets.
WOMENS socks and underwear.
Cash donations always accepted. Leave your donations at the reception desk or visit us in the Pentecost Room Tuesday and Thursday 8:30am-4:30pm. Thank you.