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Getting to Know Our Vendors--A Conversation with Chris Hubbard

Image and video hosting by TinyPicOn a beautiful Sunday afternoon in September, Chris Hubbard and I met to share conversation at the Capitol Square outside Starbucks. As I walked across the street, I observed Chris standing quietly with a stack of Street Pulse newspapers. His presence is calm and gracious. I mentioned to Chris that I didn’t know he sold outside Starbucks. Chris explained that he usually doesn’t sell here, but likes to meet “the guy with the dog” early in the morning for coffee and conversation at Starbucks. I knew exactly whom Chris was referring to…a fellow advocate passionate about helping our homeless brothers and sisters. Chris is a Madisonian. He was born at St. Mary’s Hospital on March 14, 1969. He grew up on the West Side and graduated from Madison West High School. Gym was Chris’s favorite class, and his eyes light up when he talks about playing tee ball. He recalls fondly playing co-ed softball at the Bowling Green Rec Center in Middleton with his family. Chris became homeless after losing his job at Capital Newspapers, where he worked for 11 years paycheck-to-paycheck. He has been homeless now for eight years and three months. You can find Chris selling Street Pulse Newspapers at Willy Street Co-op (all three locations) and the downtown Capitol Square area. Often, Chris sells Street Pulse for 12 hours in a day working two shifts. In talking with Chris, I am reminded of how humbling it is to work as a Street Pulse newspaper vendor. When I ask what Chris is passionate about, he says that has changed since becoming homeless. He now enjoys being at the lake watching the waves and feeding the ducks; it is therapeutic.--by Karen Andro, President
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Health Providers Take to the Streets to Help the Homeless

Street Pulse Interviews Coordinator of Madison Street Medicine Initiative (MSMI)
by Henry Solotaroff-Webber, Street Pulse Writer, Features Editor of Badger Herald

Roaming the streets of Madison, healthcare volunteers of the Madison Street Medicine Initiative (MSMI) seek to bring medical care and expertise to people experiencing homelessness.

Funded by a two-year UW Baldwin Idea Grant, the service is a collaboration between the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Department of Medicine and Madison Area Care for the Homeless (MACH) OneHealth (the group that initiated monthly Foot Care Clinic services at First United Methodist Church). The service has been developing since last summer and just began sending out teams of volunteers on March 22.

After the team’s first outing, Street Pulse was able to exchange emails with Bootsy Harden, the project’s coordinator, about how the first outing went, the challenges the team experienced, and Harden’s hopes for the future of the initiative.

The following interview has been edited for style and clarity.

Street Pulse: What is MSMI’s overall purpose and mission? How has it changed since Dr. Ann Catlett, a physician at UW Hospital and leader of the effort, was interviewed by Channel 3000 last year? (Read the interview with Catlett at

Bootsy Harden: MACH OneHealth's mission is to provide and coordinate compassionate, holistic healthcare for housing-insecure individuals in the Madison Area. That hasn't changed. The goal of the MACH OneHealth Street Health Teams is to meet people experiencing homelessness where they're at and offer free direct medical services and care coordination. The direct medical services is our starting point. Our scope of care is limited (for example, we can offer care for some wounds, some skin conditions, and some simple infections).

"All Dressed Up" Helps Make Prom Possible for Local Girls--Register Online by Feb 18

On Saturday, March 3rd, the Junior League of Madison will roll out the red carpet for local high school girls searching for a dream dress to wear to prom. The 14th annual "All Dressed Up" event gives students in the Madison area a chance to find a dress and snag some shoes, jewelry, and other accessories for their big night – for FREE. All a girl needs to do is register online at by February 18. The event is held from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm at Madison College, 1701 Wright Street, Madison, WI 53704, on Saturday, March 3rd. Entry and items are free, but registration is required.

Tenth Annual “Longest Night” Memorial Honors Homeless Who Died in Madison and Dane County in 2017

Almost 70 caring Madison souls followed two majestic Clydesdale horses pulling an American-flag-draped coffin on a carriage in a solemn procession around the Capitol Square on the afternoon of December 21, 2017, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year (photo by Mark Golbach). The procession was in memory and honor of homeless individuals who had passed in Madison and Dane County in 2017. The flag recognizes that many of such homeless are veterans of US military service. Procession participants included houseless individuals, members of local faith communities, representatives from social service agencies, homeless advocates, as well as the general public. The service was a reminder that every year members of our community, brothers and sisters, sons, fathers, husbands, wives, and children die while they are homeless. Too often, their deaths are invisible; there is no obituary, no funeral. The Longest Night service is an opportunity to remember, honor, celebrate, and mourn the passing of those in our community who have died. “Because every life should be celebrated and every death mourned, we gather each year on the Square in community, in sorrow, and in hope,” said Jeremy Evenson, dedicated leader of the Street Pulse homeless newspaper and President of the Street Pulse Board. At a time when many are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, Madison paused for a moment to remember its brothers and sisters who can also find no room at the inn. This service was an opportunity to ensure that every life is celebrated and remembered, that no one’s death among us goes unnoticed. The service included music, prayer, reflections, and remembrances of our neighbors who have died this year and who were homeless.

Medical Professionals Hold Free Clinic for the “Hardest-Working Feet in Madison”

On a snowy Saturday morning just before Thanksgiving, almost 40 of Madison’s homeless and disadvantaged were welcomed to a free bimonthly foot-care clinic hosted by the First United Methodist Church and organized by the Madison Street Medicine Initiative, which is operated under the Madison Area Care for the Homeless OneHealth (MACH OneHealth) organization ( This clinic has been underway for almost two years and has become increasingly successful, popular, and efficient with each successive session. At the November 18 event, running from 9 am to 12 noon, the number of participating health professionals (MDs, nurses, wound specialists, and volunteer helpers was approximately the same as the number of homeless (38) seeking help with their feet. As Meg Collins, an RN and certified wound care nurse from Madison and Dane County Public Health said, this clinic is a great opportunity to care for the “Hardest-Working Feet in Madison.” One of the medical professionals who is key to this wonderful effort is Ann Catlett (at right in photo), MD, who is a trained internist specializing in palliative care at UW Health. Dr. Catlett is also Medical Director of the Madison Street Medicine Initiative. This recently founded Initiative is funded by a two-year $100,000 UW Baldwin Grant intended to leverage University expertise to do good. Dr. Catlett said that before the foot clinic was started, MACH OneHealth had heard from those experiencing homelessness, as well as from outreach workers, that foot care was a major health need for the homeless. After the clinic had been launched, the Madison Street Medicine Initiative undertook a survey that confirmed this need. Dr.

PROFILE: Access Housing’s Tyler O’Brien--Former Addict, Now Community Leader and Great Father

I first met Tyler O’Brien (photo) at a recent Hope’s Home Breakfast at the First United Methodist Church in Madison. He was talking with Street Pulse editor Jeremy Everson and my first impression was that Tyler looked like a pro athlete. He was well-dressed in a casual outfit, appeared very fit, and was wearing a snazzy Chicago Black Hawks hockey cap. I was then quite surprised to see him just 30 minutes later as he picked up a microphone and started to describe his long journey from alcohol and drug addiction to recent recovery before the Church’s packed breakfast audience of homeless and disadvantaged. For the last two years, Tyler, now 39, has been the co-director (along with Calvin Brace) of the “Access Housing” transitional sober living facility at 1721 Blossom Lane on the East Side. The units there run $425/month for shared housing in two buildings that are all male and currently house 48 men (ranging in age from 18 to 80). The facility receives no funding from the City of Madison and relies wholly on the tenant rent to pay the bills for the facility, which Tyler and his co-director Calvin rent from a landlord. Tyler said he loves his work there because he empathizes greatly with all the tenants and feels he has something to offer them from the similar experiences he has had in his own life. For information on Access Housing, you may contact Tyler at 608-381-0097 or Tyler told the First United audience that he came from a highly dysfunctional Irish family and had started drinking at the age of twelve. Although noting that he liked science and history, Tyler rarely went to school, he said, but made an exception during hockey season. Before quitting Madison East High School completely, he played centerman on the school’s hockey team under the famous U.S.

“Longest Night" National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service in Madison December 21

Houseless individuals, members of local faith communities and representatives from social service agencies, as well as the general public will gather at 3:00 pm on Thursday December 21st, the longest night of the year and the first day of winter, to remember and honor people who died without shelter in Dane County and elsewhere this year. The event, the Longest Night Homeless persons’ Memorial Service marks the eighth such event in Madison. Nationally the event has been commemorated annually since 1990 and brings attention to the growing tragedy of homelessness across the country. The service reminds us that every year members of our community, brothers and sisters, sons, fathers, husbands, wives, and children die while they are homeless. Too often, their deaths are invisible; there is no obituary, no funeral. The Longest Night Service is an opportunity to remember, honor, celebrate, and mourn the passing of those in our community who have died. At a time when many of us are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we pause to remember our brothers and sisters who also can find no room at the inn. This service is an opportunity to ensure that every life is celebrated and remembered, that no one’s death among us goes unnoticed. The Service will include music, prayer, reflections, and remembrances of our neighbors who have died this year and who were homeless. At 4:00 pm, there will be a light soup and bread meal provided at First United Methodist Church, and at 5:00 p.m. there will be an interfaith service of light and remembrance. Participating in Services will be Rev. Eldonna Hazen, First Congregational United Church of Christ; Rev.

ACLU Effort to Aid Wisconsin Homeless Voter Registration Highlighted in Mother Jones Magazine Cover Story

Many of our readers will know Molly McGrath (photo below), a young woman from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who comes almost every Wednesday to the community outreach breakfast at the First United Methodist Church in Madison, in order to offer homeless and disadvantaged people assistance in obtaining the identification now required to exercise the right to vote in Wisconsin. Many may not know that a photo of Molly, together with text describing her ACLU voter outreach work, are included in the cover story of the current issue (November/December 2017) of Mother Jones magazine. The title of the seven-page article is “RIGGED—How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump and Changed the Election.” You may view the article at the following link: The Mother Jones story begins with a description of how Milwaukee’s Andrea Anthony’s effort to vote in the recent presidential election was thwarted by Wisconsin’s new law that requires voters--even those who were already registered—to present a current driver’s license, passport, or state or military ID. Andrea, who is 37, had voted in every major election since she was 18. She had lost her driver’s license a few days before election day, but she came to the polling center prepared with an expired Wisconsin state ID and proof of residency. A poll worker confirmed that she was registered to vote at her current address, but because of the new law, she was not allowed to vote. The Mother Jones story quoted Andrea as saying “Voting is important to me because I know I have a little, teeny voice, but that is a way for it to be heard.

Wisconsin Housing First Coalition & Housing First Milwaukee Making Great Strides Against Chronic Homelessness; Coalition Now Forming Board of Directors

The new Wisconsin Housing First Coalition, which endorses the successful model of Housing First Milwaukee ( and hopes to spread this model across the state, recently called for nominations of individuals to serve on its first Board of Directors. The Coalition is looking for committed, energetic people from across the state of Wisconsin who wish to help further the Housing First philosophy. This philosophy is that the most effective approach to ending chronic homelessness is to provide housing first, and to then combine that housing with supportive treatment services in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, education, and employment. Housing First is a nationwide program supported by funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and with operations headquartered in cities around the country.Housing First Milwaukee is a HUD-funded program that seeks to provide housing to chronically homeless individuals and families in Milwaukee County. The HUD defines a “chronically homeless person” as “either (1) an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more, or (2) an unaccompanied individual with a disabling condition who has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.” According to Luke Rosynek (photo), Housing Program Evaluator, Department of Health and Human Services - Housing Division, Milwaukee County, the most recent figures are that Housing First Milwaukee, launched in July 2015, is now providing housing to approximately 250 of its estimated ~300 chronically homeless individuals.

Full-Service Homeless Day Resource Center Opens in Madison; “The Beacon” Shines with the Warm Light of Help & Hope

The Beacon, a full-service day resource center for the homeless and marginalized in Madison, opened on October 16 at 8 am. A cooperative effort of Dane County, the City of Madison, United Way, and Catholic Charities, The Beacon provides for a wide variety of homeless needs in one central place, and thus make it easier for homeless people to advance up and out of the tough plights they are in. The Beacon is operated by Catholic Charities which has committed to contribute $172,000 annually to the effort. The other partners have also committed funds to the operation, but the exact amounts have yet to be finalized. The Beacon facility is a renovation of the Greater Madison Chamber of Congress Building on 615 East Washington Street, directly across the street from the Salvation Army. It occupies 12,000 square feet of space that includes all of the two-story building and its backyard. The building was bought by Dane County in 2016, which hired J.H. Findorff & Son to handle the renovation. The Beacon is open from 8 am to 5 pm every day of the week, 365 days a year, and will be run by 12 full- and part-time paid staffers, as well many volunteers (72 volunteers have already been trained or have signed up for training and over 600 have indicated an interest in volunteering). The volunteers are being recruited and trained by Catholic Charities Volunteer Coordinator Tami Fleming, a trained social worker who founded the Friends of the State Street Family ( seven years ago. If you are interested in volunteering to work at The Beacon, you may contact Tami at 608-445-7067 or at Information on the various volunteer opportunities can be found at AM and PM shift times are available for the nine-hour day.

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