Ways you can support Madison’s homeless shelters during the extreme cold

As temperatures plunge across our area, staying indoors and warm is not always an option for some people. However, there are many resources available to help the homeless stay out of the cold. Officials tell News 3 Now they’re already seeing their resources stretched because of the weather, and they’re making adjustments to accommodate people in need.

The Beacon, the area’s only homeless day shelter, is opening its doors an hour early Tuesday. Joel Girard, the lead guest service specialist, said opening at 7 a.m. is an easy way to protect clients from the cold as they transition from the overnight shelters to the day center. Overnight shelters close at 7:15 a.m. for men and 8 a.m. for women.

In terms of overnight shelters, women and children can go to the Salvation Army Shelter off East Washington Avenue. Check-in for the women’s shelter is at 4 p.m.

Men can go to Grace Episcopal Church off West Washington Ave. Check-in at Grace Episcopal at 5:30 p.m. The church can house 70 men. If there is an overflow, men will be taken to St. John’s Lutheran Church and First United Methodist. St. John’s can support 60 men and First United Methodist can support 35.

Single men and woman are allowed 90 nights a year at the shelter, but no one will be turned away if the wind chill is 20 degrees or below even if they’ve reached their maximum number of stays. Families do not have a limited number of stays.

If you’d like to help, you can donate gloves, thermals and hats to the Beacon. Porchlight, the group that runs the men’s shelters, is asking for coffee, sugar and blankets.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.