New homeless shelter opens on Madison’s east side

MADISON, Wis. — The new temporary shelter for men experiencing homelessness opened its doors Thursday evening on Madison’s east side.

Moving crews on Thursday delivered and set up furniture ahead of the facility’s opening. The shelter, located inside a former retail building at 2002 Zeier Road near East Towne Mall, officially opened at 5 p.m., replacing the Porchlight-run shelter at the city’s former Fleet Services building on First Street.

READ MORE: High demand for new temporary men’s shelter set to open on Madison’s East Side

The First Street shelter closed at 8 a.m. and moving crews immediately sprang into action, moving everything over to Zeier Road in order to be ready for those spending the night at the new facility on Thursday, Hannah Mohelnitzky, a spokesperson for the city’s engineering division, said.

“(There has been) a lot of planning, a lot of moving pieces, a lot of people, but there’s definitely an energy in the air,” she said. “I showed up this morning, it was a lot of hurry up and wait, and when the trucks showed up this morning it was like, ‘Boom, let’s get this done.'”

The city bought the Zeier Road building for about $2 million last year and spent about $1.1 million turning it into a shelter. The move allows for redevelopment of the First Street site — currently proposed to be the home of the Madison Public Market — and gives the city time to build the permanent shelter planned to open on Bartillon Drive in 2025.