And the name is . . . The Beacon Print
Thursday, May. 11, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

It is a sad fact that many men, women, and children continue to be homeless in the city of Madison and Dane County.

Here we are in the capital city of Wisconsin, a city known for its progressive character. Yet each year, about 3,500 people experience homelessness, nearly half of them being children.

Working together

How can we reduce or even eliminate homelessness in our city? A bold effort is underway to work on this problem. It is a collaboration of the faith, business, nonprofit, government, and neighborhood communities working together.

A new day resource center for the homeless will open in the fall of 2017 near downtown Madison. Dane County, the City of Madison, and United Way are all funding this project, which will be operated by Catholic Charities of Madison. Catholic Charities is also committed to raising $150,000 each year to make the homeless center a reality.

Announcing the name

A contest was held recently to name the new homeless center. Over 400 people submitted names. Four finalists were selected and everyone was encouraged to vote.

I voted for the name The Beacon. I felt this name epitomized what the homeless center would be: a place that would illuminate the reality of homelessness and serve to guide and inspire those seeking help.

The new name was announced at a press conference on May 2. And the name selected was . . . The Beacon.

In revealing the name, Jackson Fonder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities, reflected on the meaning of the word “beacon.” He said, “This a beautiful and hopeful image. It is the light of hope and it represents a guide.

“A beacon does not force you to change course. You must change your own course, but it does show you the way . . . The Beacon means you’re not alone . . . someone else cared enough to create a signal so you could be safe.”

The Beacon homeless day resource center will create an environment that allows the people it serves to feel warm, welcome, safe, and respected. Laundry facilities, showers, mail, storage, case management, and more will be available at the center.

For more on The Beacon and how you can support this effort to reduce and even end homelessness in Madison, go to