FOX47 NEWS - Dozens of Madison Families Homeless

Jeff Angileri
Sep 3, 2009, 9:38 PM

Dozens of homeless people are on the streets tonight -- turned away from shelters because there's simply too many people, and not enough room.

Delneka Miller, 22, and her 3-year-old son Maurice came to Madison from Chicago to escape an abusive relationship, and ended up on the streets -- and she's not alone.

Many others in Madison find themselves facing the night alone, outside, and with no where to go.

Steps from the state capitol, Delneka and Maurice huddled inside the city-county building Monday night, with all their worldly possessions.

"Just trying to find focus in my own mind, to find somewhere for my son -- to have somewhere to go, but its hard," Delneka said.

Delneka's story is just a snapshot of Madison's homeless situation. Currently, 60 families are on the waiting list at The Salvation Army, 45 at The Road Home.

When there's no place for people to stay, shelter volunteers try to help by serving dinner, paying for bus fares, and making phone calls.

"It's hard. It's really hard," said Sarah Gillmore, director of social services at The Salvation Army. "A lot of families leave before we even get to that part because they're stressed out, frustrated, and we don't even get a chance to get a name on them."

And the demographics are changing -- it's not just single women and children any more -- volunteers are seeing more two parent families, and more caucasians.

"I had a single dad and son who rode the bus all night till about midnight, then slept in a hospital emergency room," said Kristin Rucinski, shelter coordinator at The Road Home. "People find ways."

As for Delneka, as of Thursday, she's now safe inside The Salvation Army. Her situation is stable for now, and she's in better spirits.

"So far, they've found me a place to stay. We're still in the process of being helped," she said. "It feels good to know we won't be out on the streets."

And her son, Maurice, is smiling, already showing off his new toy truck.

People who work at homeless shelters say this is the worst time of year when it comes to people in need.

Landlords are more likely to evict when the weather is warm, people often relocate in the summer, and then there's the economic recession.

Madison's homeless shelters and agencies are anticipating $800,000 in federal stimulus money, to be split among the YWCA, The Road Home, The Salvation Army, Independent Living, Legal Action, Porchlight, Child Advocacy Center, and the Tenant Resource Center.

Other organizations like Briarpatch and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services are in need as well.

While you can't make more room at the shelters, you can donate money, supplies, and even volunteer.



E-mail Jeff Angileri -- jangileri@wkowtv.com

The Road Home: http://www.trhome.org/help.donate.cfm

The Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmydanecounty.org/donations.asp


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