COVID-19 and Homelessness Resource Guide

August 31, 2020

The Homeless Services Consortium, City of Madison, and Dane County are coordinating efforts with Public Health Madison & Dane County to develop protocols, best practices and next steps for serving people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that people experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to infectious disease and want to provide the most up to date information possible.


This guide is intended for homeless services providers to find resources and information on cancellations and closures in one place. It will be updated as new information comes available

Please go to Public Health Madison & Dane County for the most recent information on what is happening in our community.


Local Resources

Public Health Madison & Dane County


Educational Information

Social Distancing Poster

Outreach Card

Department of Health Services: Tips for Group Settings poster

Clinic Contact List

Local Guidance

Self Care during COVID-19

Guidance for Housing Providers

COVID-19 Screener for Housing Providers 

Shelter Guidance

COVID-19 Screener for Shelters

Medical Respite Center Referral for use by Medical Providers

Medical Respite Center Referral for use by Shelter and Outreach Providers 

Statements from HSC Board of Directors

Late Fees

Summary of National Resources

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

 Infectious Disease Prevention & Response

Using CoC Program Funds for Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response

Essential Services for Encampments during an Infections Disease Outbreak

Shelter Management during an Infectious Disease Outbreak

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Interim Guidance for Homeless Shelters

Interim Guidance for Serving People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Webinar – Infections Disease Preparedness for Homelessness Services and their Partners

Resource Page

OrgCode Consulting

Pandemic Planning and Services that Support People Who are Homeless


What Supportive Housing Providers Need to Know

Harm Reduction Coalition

COVID-19 Guidance for People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction Programs


HSC Meeting Cancellations

The following HSC meetings have been canceled.

              Housing Stabilization Case Manager Meetings - Canceled until further notice

              Shelter Providers Committee - Wednesday, April 1st 9am

                General Membership Meeting – Tuesday, April 7th 12-1:30

              Funders Committee – Tuesday, April 7th 10:30-11:30

              Committee to End Youth Homelessness - Canceled until further notice

              Youth Action Board - Canceled until further notice 

Hand Washing Locations*

Safe Haven: 4006 Nakoosa Trail

Salvation Army: 630 E. Washington Ave.

The Beacon: 615 E. Washington Ave.

Central Library: 201W. Mifflin St.

Top of State Street

Peace Park: 452 State Street

Grace Church: 116 W. Washington Ave.

*locations may change as community needs change

HSC Partner Agency Announcements

Catholic Charities - Housing Navigation

In response to COVID-19, Housing Navigation Services is operating 100% remotely at this time until further notice. We can be reached via phone 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday for assistance with finding housing. Please feel free to continue calling our main line (608) 826-8093 or emailing at this time. If you are looking to reach one of our employees directly, you may call and/or text them at the numbers below:

  • Rodney – Program Manager: (608) 305-4885

  • Emmett – Housing Specialist: (847) 250-2363

  • Alexander – Community Educator/Website: (608) 535-9315

Porchlight - Safe Haven

I wanted to share a few COVID-19 updates and answers to common questions that may be asked about Porchlight’s Safe Haven program. In case you don’t know, Safe Haven is a daytime drop-in center for adults experiencing homelessness who have a mental health diagnosis. We are collocated with 14 units of permanent housing for the same population. We are located at 4006 Nakoosa Trail, and our phone number is 608-241-9447 x10.


Are you still open?



What are your hours?

We are currently open from 8:30am-6pm seven days week, excluding major holidays

However, starting this Sunday 3/22/20 we will be reducing our hours to 8:30am-3:30pm. We will still be open seven days a week.


Do you provide overnight shelter?

No. We have 14 units of permanent housing on site, all of which are occupied. Guests who are registered with Safe Haven and have appropriate verification of mental health disability on file with us may be added to our housing waitlist. We currently estimate that it may take a year or longer to be offered a unit at Safe Haven off this waitlist.


What are you doing in response to COVID-19?

Over the past week we have made numerous changes to procedures to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless population and in the community in general. These include:

  • All guests are asked to wash their hands immediately upon entering

  • All guests are asked screening questions about their health upon entering; ill guests are assisted with contacting their clinic or the UW COVID-19 hotline and are required to wear a mask

  • Staff are sanitizing high-touch surfaces hourly, or more often as indicated

  • Lunch is being served in to-go containers and the lunch service has been split into two shifts, 11:30am-12pm and 12:30pm-1pm

  • Seating has been rearranged in order to promote social distancing

  • Staff are working with other agencies to best serve potentially ill people as well as those who are especially vulnerable to serious illness due to age and/or chronic illness


Is Safe Haven currently able to follow best practices with regards to social distancing?

While we are doing what we can to promote social distancing among our guests, residents, and staff, we have a small space and enough daily guests that social distancing is a real challenge. New or returning guests should expect to be an environment with limited opportunity for social distancing if they come to Safe Haven for services.


Where can I find more information about Safe Haven in general?

Please visit Porchlight’s website:


Where can I find more information about Safe Haven’s response to COVID-19, especially as things continue to change?

Porchlight is frequently updating its website with information about its COVID-19 response across programs. For specific questions, please contact me (Safe Haven manager Liz Duffie) at with questions. I will do my best to get back to you in a timely fashion. I will ensure that an email goes out to the HSC if there are further major changes to our hours, services, etc.


WisCARES is still open! Wanted to give everyone a short update in case you have clients with needs we can fulfill:


  • We've reduced our hours somewhat--we're open for walk-ins on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am-3pm. We're checking voicemails and emails on Mondays and Thursdays.

  • We're still taking patients for urgent needs (sick animals or necessary wellness only). Please encourage clients to call before coming in so we can triage over the phone.

  • We're hoping to keep everyone in pet food, meds, and supplies as much as we can! Are your clients unable to come out to us? Please have them contact us, or contact us on their behalf. We're happy to drop off supplies to encourage folks to stay healthy and reduce the curve.

  • While we do not currently have staff to handle in-house boarding, our foster program is still up and running. Please have clients who need it contact us to do intake.


Questions? You can email us at or call (608)561-7387.

Friends of the State Street Family

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Friends of the State Street Family has decided to suspend our traditional street outreach program.  We are working in collaboration with area day programs as well as the shelters to identify ways we can support the work they are doing to keep our friends experiencing homelessness safe and healthy. 


  • FSSF is working to purchase and secure donations for snacks, hygiene items, and symptom treatment supplies to share with area agencies serving our friends.

  • FSSF will host outdoor distribution of essential items at set locations, Schedule TBA.

  • The FSSF Communications Line continues to operate.  We will do our best to connect essential survival gear to our friends.

Off the Square Club

Closed at this time. Will re-evaluate in a week. 

Dane County Department of Human Services

Update for Wednesday, March 18, 2020 – please view future updates at:

Dane County Department of Human Services continues to monitor the community response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and is adjusting our approach to delivery of services in Dane County as new information and updated public health guidance is made available.

The following list is information about the current availability of services from DCDHS and our valued community partners as of 4:00 p.m. on 3/17/2020. This information will be updated as we learn more:

Dane County Department of Human Services Available Services

**All DCDHS Offices are closed to the public until further notice. DCDHS is, however, offering all essential services through online or telecommunications methods.

Dane County Job Center

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dane County Department of Human Services will not be available at the Dane County Job Center Office (JCO) to the public as of March 18, 2020. The building will remain open to other job center partner services, however, for the time being.

  • Benefit applicants are encouraged to apply for FoodShare, health care, or Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy benefits using the ACCESS website. Customers can also access services by phone by calling (888) 794-5556 (voice) or 711 (TTY), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Members can check the status of programs and benefits they are enrolled in, get reminders about actions they need to take, submit and track documents, by using the simple and convenient MyACCESS mobile app. The app can be downloaded for free on the App Store or Google Play Store.

  • Customers can continue faxing documents for processing. Documents can be faxed to the Centralized Document Processing Unit (CDPU) at (855) 293-1822 (with a document tracking sheet).

  • Applicants/Members are strongly encouraged to use the MyACCESS app to upload documents when possible.

  • Documents can also be mailed to:

Centralized Document Processing Unit (CDPU)
P.O. Box 5234
Janesville, WI 53547-5234


Staff will be working remotely, but will be accessible by phone and e-mail. For individuals interested in enrolling in programs, they can leave a message for:

  • LIFT Dane: (608) 242-4563

  • Children First: (608) 242-4550

  • FSET Re-Entry: (608) 242-7431

  • Windows to Work: (608) 242-4546

  • WorkSmart: (608) 288-2459

  • General Information: (608) 242-7402

For individuals that are involved in a layoff, e-mail or

For more information about all of our programs and services, they refer to the website:

Child Protective Services

Concerns about Child Abuse and Neglect should continue to be reported to our Child Abuse Reporting Line: (608) 261-5437. Child Protective Services staff will respond to these calls 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Here's the link directly to the reporting area on the website:

Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Dane County

Walk-in appointments are not available at this time. Phone calls and emails only. Long-term care options counseling and enrollment continue to be provided.

Information and Assistance:

Dane County Adult Protective Services

Walk-In appointments are not available at this time.

Helpline: (608) 261-9933

Dane County Transportation Call Center

(608) 242-6489

Comprehensive Community Services (CCS)

Intake Line (two-day response): (608) 242-6415

Community Development Authority

In light of the current COVID-19 concerns, the Community Development Authority (CDA) will be closed to the public effective 8am Wednesday morning, 3/18/2020. At this time, staff will still be working in the office or remotely. What this means to our applicants, clients and agency partners:


  • All CDA offices and community spaces are closed to the public. Section 8 walk-in hours have been cancelled.   

  • Staff will still be answering phone calls and emails but please be patient as response time may be a little longer than usual due to the influx of calls and emails but we will respond as quickly as we can.

  • Applicants will still continue to contact our central office at 608-266-4675 and press 0 to speak to the receptionist or via the email.

  • Section 8 clients will still continue to reach out directly to their assigned caseworker via phone or email.

  • Public Housing and Multi-Family residents will still continue to contact their site office via phone or email.

  • Paperwork with due dates will need to be mailed or placed in the drop-box outside of our central office in the Madison Municipal Building (building hours at 8am-4:30pm). If extensions are needed to allow for extra time for mailing, please contact us. (paperwork with due dates at site offices need to be mailed, there is no drop box available).

  • We are looking at available options to continue to offer Section 8 briefings but are still unsure at this time what that will look like. Stay tuned for more information on that.

  • Section 8 housing assistance payments to landlords will still be processed.

  • CDA maintenance staff will only be responding to emergency maintenance calls and may call a resident to troubleshoot work order requests via phone. CDA staff are disinfecting common areas and all high touch surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons, and mailboxes daily.

  • Section 8 inspectors will only be conducting move in and emergency inspections.

  • CDA residents and Section 8 voucher holders should contact their property manager or Section 8 caseworker via phone or email as soon as possible if they are experiencing a decrease in income that may affect their ability to pay rent.


More information can be found on the CDA website:

Bethel's Homeless Ministry

Bethel will continue to provide a hot lunch for our homeless guests each Tuesday and Thursday but will suspend our other services and resources until further notice.  Our church is  closed to worship services but staff will remain to handle telephone calls, etc.  Our food pantry is operating, but has altered how the food is dispensed.  Please call the church to register for the pantry and with any pertinent questions such as the times of service (608)257-3577. 


Bethel will curtail serving lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays for now but will resume when we are deemed safe to open again.  However, I will continue to dispense U.S. mail on Tuesdays from the parking lot doors between the hours of 11:00 and 12:00. 

Madison Area Urban Ministry

Update for Monday 3/16/2020. MUM's reentry programs out of S. Park St. are open and operating. All current participants are being contacted by phone, text and email to schedule their appointments virtually. We are shifting funds normally spent on bus tickets to help with phone minutes so participants can stay in touch with us and any other organizations they need to communicate with. Our prison in-reach is happening via mail as DOC and jail visits are cancelled. People are still being released from prison and jail and most are homeless which is why we believe it is important to have our doors open. We have put in place social distancing protocols and an initial screening tool to assess for illness and a plan for anyone presenting symptoms similar to those of Covid. Our Mentoring Connections staff are working from home and in-person volunteer trainings are on hold, new volunteers can begin their training with our on-line process and training videos. Family and Reading Connections trips are cancelled until DOC lifts the visitation bans. Healing House is operating with enhanced safety protocols. Just Bakery is now providing remote learning for students and our storefront is closed but we will take orders for food delivery through the website. Students are still learning, but they are learning from home and the additional peer support and trauma services they receive are also happening via phone, email and text. Case management is happening via skype. Circles of Support will continue to provide services with program staff checking in with participants and conference call Circle meetings happening.

Our Partners for Change Luncheon scheduled for April 30th has been cancelled.

The monthly Reentry Service Fairs for March and April have been cancelled.

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services

Catholic Multicultural Center

The Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St, Madison (608-661-3512) will be implementing the following program suspensions and changes starting Monday, March 16 until further notice:


  • All classes (ESL, Citizenship, Spanish language, computer, etc.) are cancelled.

  • Shower and laundry services for homeless are suspended.

  • All drop-in employment search services are suspended.

  • Computer lab will be closed.

  • All CMC support groups (FUNNE, cancer support, etc.) are suspended.

  • NA and AA meetings will be allowed to meet with restrictions. All other facility use group meetings are cancelled or suspended.

  • Free Meal Program: Carry out food will be provided in the parking lot. Guests will be asked to grab-and-go. There will be no dining area provided. Food will be served 4 - 5pm M - F; and 11am - 12pm Sat & Sun.

  • Food Pantry and Personal Essentials Pantry: Food and personal essentials will be distributed through our garage door area. Guests will complete a selection list and volunteers/staff will bag/box up the selections and bring them out  to guests. Food pantry hours: 2 - 4pm Tuesday; and 10:30am - 12pm Thursday. PEP hours: 2 - 4pm Tuesday. There will be no pre-registration.

  • Immigration Legal Services will be provided by appointment only. No walk-in clients or inquiries will be seen. Appointment slots will be limited. Call 441-0114 to make an appointment.

The Beacon

We have decided, for the safety of everyone, to strongly suggest that partner agency hours/access at The Beacon be suspended until further notice. Though we understand that your services are needed and we appreciate all that you do, your coming to The Beacon exposes you to a large group of people in a close contact environment. We do not want to add to your risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. We also must think about the population that we serve. They are vulnerable and need The Beacon to remain open through the coronavirus pandemic. We want to limit the exposure that both our guests and staff have to outside sources in hopes that everyone can remain healthy and our doors can remain open. 

Coordinated Entry

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) public health emergency and to mitigate the potential impact on the vulnerable people we serve, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, Coordinated Entry (CE) staff will not be meeting with participants at The Beacon.  CE screening and assessments, including VI-SPDAT assessments, will be conducted over the phone.

To contact Coordinated Entry, call (608) 826-8019 and leave a message or complete the Coordinated Entry Form on the Homeless Services Consortium website:

CE staff will be monitoring messages and returning phone calls within 24 business hours.  CE hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30a – 4pm.

Please note that Coordinated Entry partner agencies (ICA, Porchlight, The Salvation Army and Tenant Resource Center) are currently working to determine continuity of services for CE assessments at emergency shelter and Eviction Prevention Coordinated Entry services at Tenant Resource Center.  We will provide updates as available.

Hope's Home Ministries

  • Wednesday Community Breakfast, Connections to Care (on-site outreach) & Come As You Are Worship: cancelled until further notice.

  • Food Pantry: Closed the week of March 16th; working on alternate plans, call 608-251-4407 for up-to-date information 

Urban League of Greater Madison

  • All large gatherings including the Teen Summer Job Fair, My Brother's Keeper Gaming & Coding Day, Economic Development & Diversity Summit, and weekly employment services information sessions have been cancelled or postponed.


  • I have directed many of our staff to begin telecommuting beginning on Monday. Our Management Team will be developing a more detailed plan on Monday to support our clients and our community. In the meantime, all of ULGM's ON-PREMISES programming at 2222 S. Park Street and 1233 McKenna Blvd. will be postponed until further notice. Our staff are working on plans to help our clients navigate community resources using remote systems. 


  • With today's closure of schools, our school-based programming is also suspended until school resumes. We will be assessing ways that our team can support schools and students remotely.


  • If you are a Schools of Hope volunteer, please note that schools are closed until at least April 6. We will keep in touch as we get closer and more information is available about the return to school


Tenant Resource Center

TRC closed.jpg