A temporary shelter set up on the city's East Side aimed at helping area homeless families has closed its doors this week.
The shelter, operated by Porchlight Inc., opened four months ago on East Washington Avenue. It is closing because the site will be razed to make way for redevelopment projects set to begin in later this year, according to a representative of Madison's Planning and Development Office.
An outreach worker at the temporary day shelter estimated roughly 80 to 100 people sought out its services each day.
"This is a roof over our head. It's more than I could ask. This is a blessing," said Stone Murray, who used the shelter's services.
Murray said the warming center is the closest thing he and wife, Autumn, have to a home. The couple has been homeless for about a month. For several hours each day, they come to the shelter to make jewelry and other crafts.
"This is my first owl I put together. This is what I do to supplement our income," he said.
"This is where we come because it's a spot where he can sit and do it safely. Where else is he going to do it now?" said Autumn Murray.
Workers assist in connecting families like the Murrays with resources, including food stamps and housing programs. Outreach worker Andrea Lengyel said those in need will now be served at the Porchlight Hospitality House on Fish Hatchery Road.
"I don't think it will be as convenient. Certainly, the location of this place was really nice because it was only a few blocks' walk for women and men staying at the local (downtown Madison overnight) shelters," said Lengyel.
"It's hard for us to get around under the best of circumstances," said Autumn Murray.
"Just because we've fallen through the cracks of the system, whatever our ordeal is, give us a chance by keeping shelters open to get out of the elements," said Stone Murray.