The Road Home

How Our Shelter Works

Our shelter relies on individual volunteers as well as host and buddy congregations and businesses to help families experiencing homelessness.

graphic showing number of people in shelter

The Road Home’s Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) shelter program provides emergency shelter to families with children who are experiencing homelessness. To do this, we work directly with a network of Madison area churches and synagogues. Families stay at each church or synagogue for one week at a time. Volunteers from these host congregations as well as partnering buddy congregations or businesses provide overnight shelter, meals and evening activities for the families. The Road Home maintains a daytime shelter where we provide case management services. Families staying in our shelter work with case managers to seek housing, employment and other community services and to attend educational workshops. The Road Home also provides transportation between locations.

The Road Home Dane County partners with the Dane County Housing Crisis hotline, The Salvation Army of Dane County, the YWCA-Madison and United Way of Dane County to provide the most effective assistance possible. Calling the Dane County Housing Crisis Hotline (1-855-510-2323) is the first step for families experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, there is always more need than there is availability in the programs. We work to offer case management services to help increase their chances of getting into housing more quickly.

Once families are matched with our shelter, they meet with our case manager to discuss and review how our shelter program runs and to ensure that our shelter is the best fit for them. Families provide information about their family make-up, any special food needs and/or allergies along with any additional information that would be needed to relay to our volunteers. Families can stay in our shelter for up to 90 days. During this time, they work closely with their case manager to achieve their goals.

Our family shelter has 14 beds. This means we can provide shelter for up to 14 individuals. Typically, we have between 3 to 5 families in our shelter at all times. We allow families to define themselves meaning that a family can consist of mom, dad and children, single parent family, grandparent and grandchildren, aunts, uncles, etc. To stay in our shelter, a family must have a child under 18 in their care.

Our goal is always to help these families find permanent housing as quickly as possible. We succeed in placing 88% of families that come into our shelter into permanent housing. One year later, 90% of these families are still in housing. You can read more about our impact here.

Volunteers are essential to the functioning of our shelter. To learn more about how we use volunteers in our shelter, read Family Shelter Volunteers.