Porchlight Inc., one of the agencies in Madison that help the homeless, officially opened its newest shelters on the city's east side Thursday.

The buildings have 48 units for single adults. Some are set aside for people with mental illness or addiction, while 34 units are for low-income housing.

"This is a great moment for the community of Madison in terms of the battle to reduce homelessness in Dane County," Porchlight Director Steve Schooler said at a ribbon-cutting event.

Private donations paid for most of the project's $4 million cost, with public funding a small portion, Schooler said.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he hoped the shelters were the start of helping the homeless long-term.

About 400 people are without a place to sleep in Madison on any given night, homeless advocates have said.

Isaac Shuler, 60, said the Porchlight facility helped him get sober and gave him a place to stay.

"I jumped for it, and I haven't looked back since," said Shuler, who was homeless for five years.

Shuler credits Porchlight with helping him get his degree through the General Educational Development, or GED, process. He's also participating in addiction recovery support meetings and said he's hoping to inspire others.

"I've got a lot of people behind me, and I don't want to let them down," Shuler said.

The shelter has been housing residents since December.