Here’s a way to help the homeless Print
Thursday, Aug. 03, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

The National Alliance to End Homelessness states that there are 564,708 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the U.S.: 36,907 (6.38 percent) are children, 47,725 (8.33 percent) are veterans, and 269,991 (47.6 percent) are disabled and unable to work.

Many factors can contribute to a person becoming homeless. These factors include (but are not limited to):

• Poverty

• Lack of affordable housing

• Job loss

• Lack of health care

• Mental illness

• Substance abuse

• Domestic violence

Catholic Charities can help

It may seem almost impossible to reduce homelessness in our country. But Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Madison believes it can help.

In October, Catholic Charities will be opening the new Homeless Day Resource Center in Madison. The center is called The Beacon, and it indeed promises to be a beacon of light for the homeless in our area.

The Beacon will be open seven days a week, 365 days a year. In order to succeed, it needs many volunteers to make a commitment to help.

In this week’s Catholic Herald, we have published an article about the many specific ways that volunteers can help. Catholic Charities would like volunteers to make a commitment to monthly or weekly shifts.

Consider volunteering

Please consider whether you can make such a commitment. Some of the volunteer opportunities require specific talents and skills, but others are for anyone who is just willing to help.

Some of the work allows a volunteer to sit for most of their shift, so people who are not as physically active can still participate.

The kinds of work include helping with laundry, assisting with shower services, being a computer lab assistant, helping babysit, assisting homeless individuals, welcoming people, and repair and maintenance.

Catholic Charities is also looking for people who speak Spanish and for veterans, who would be especially helpful in working with fellow veterans.

I could envision volunteers who may be retired and want to spend some time helping others. Retirees would be great at offering their life experience and expertise to homeless persons.

This is also a wonderful opportunity for young adults (volunteers must be at least 18 years old), especially college students who might like to volunteer in the community.

Yes, homelessness is a major problem in our society, but we can do something about it. Consider whether you have the time to help The Beacon. For more information or to volunteer, contact Tami Fleming at 608-826-8022 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

And above all, you will be carrying out the Corporal Works of Mercy!