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Day resource center finds funding to open in October

The Beacon is scheduled to open Oct. 16 in the former Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce building at 615 E. Washington Ave. 

While questions over its long-term funding persist, a day center for people who are homeless is set to open in Madison in October as planned.

The Near East Side center, called The Beacon, is scheduled to open Oct. 16, said Catholic Charities Madison spokeswoman Jane McGowan. Catholic Charities is one of the center’s four founding groups.

It is expected to serve about 150 homeless men, women and children daily in the former Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce building at 615 E. Washington Ave.

But, the long-term funding of the center remains unclear.

The center’s four founding groups must deal with a budget shortfall of about $135,000 for 2018. Besides Catholic Charities, Dane County, the city of Madison and the United Way of Dane County also contributed money to start The Beacon.

The groups learned about the shortfall in July after Catholic Charities, the center’s operator, said it would take about $680,000 a year to run the facility — $200,000 more than the other three groups originally thought it would take, leaving some to wonder whether the facility would open as planned.

For 2018, Catholic Charities has committed to spending $172,000, with Dane County including $172,000 for the center in it’s proposed 2018 budget.

The city and United Way committed to about $100,000 each.

Catholic Charities and a Dane County spokeswoman said they’re optimistic money will be found to close the funding gap.

While solutions to the shortfall have not been finalized, Jackson Fonder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Madison, said discussions between the founders have been positive.

“(The) conversations are going well and we feel there’s movement,” he said.

Food, showers, laundry, preventive health care, employment searches and housing assistance are among the services The Beacon will provide. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

The facility, which the county purchased in 2016 for $1.75 million, is being renovated by the county at a cost of about $3 million.


Chris Aadland is a reporting intern for the Wisconsin State Journal.