Local organizations helping homeless seek shelter before possible protests this weekend

MADISON, Wis. — Friends of the State Street Family is partnering with several local organizations to get homeless people to safe areas ahead of possible armed protests this weekend.

Jasper Davis, who works with Friends and The Beacon homeless shelter to distribute items to the homeless, said after hearing about the possibility of protests, “My mind immediately went to ‘Oh my god, there’s homeless people that live within 100 feet of where those folks are going to be.'”

Davis and other Friends staff members are working to put homeless people into hotels, shelters or provide alternate options for them to keep them away from any potential threat around the State Capitol.

“We’ll try to get them out of the area, provide them bus passes and find alternative shelter for them. We are encouraging them to go to the shelters,” said FSSF Board President Jeff Turk.

But not everyone is willing to go to the shelters.

“Some of our clients aren’t comfortable doing that, they don’t want to be in a space where they’re close to so many people,” Davis said. “There’s lots of other personal issues that people have and sometimes they just like to distance themselves. So that’s where we have to work with people to say ‘Ok you don’t want to go to this space, you don’t want to go to this space. How can we get you somewhere where you do feel safe?'”

They’re working with numerous organizations to provide them with options, including the Boys and Girls Club which just received a $5,000 donation to help put homeless folks into hotels, and provide them with food and clothes.

“These people are vulnerable and we just don’t want these people to have conflict with anyone,’ said Boys and Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson. “We want to be able to remove any barriers that exist and make sure that they have options.”

Turk said there will still be homeless people who choose to stay outside and sleep near the Capitol. In those cases, Turk said FSSF staff members will still be going out to the area during the protests to check on them. FSSF is also working with Mach1Health and Sankofa to make sure everyone is safe.

If you see a homeless person who may be in need of help during protests, please contact FSSF through their Facebook page here or through their website here.