It will be an exciting and historical day on Monday, July 8, as the first family will be moving into Madison-area Urban Ministry’s new Healing House, the first medical recuperative facility in Wisconsin for homeless families.
“We are really excited. We know there will be a learning curve because we haven’t done this before. In fact, this kind of shelter for families – recuperative care – hasn’t been done nationally. So we know there will be things to learn,” Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM) Executive Director Linda Ketcham tells Madison365. “We’ve been very fortunate that Road Home is partnering with us and they’ve shared their insights. We’ve talked with the Salvation Army and they’ve shared their thoughts and things for us to think about.”
Healing House, a 24/7 recuperative facility, provides housing (up to 28 days) when a member of a homeless family needs short-term care to prepare for hospitalization. Healing House will give follow-up care to the patient and family after they are discharged from the hospital or emergency room. The patients will be referred to MUM by the discharging hospital.
Ketcham says that the first family has a six-month-old that is in need of two surgeries and hasn’t been able to get them.
“They will be moving in a couple of weeks before the first surgery so that baby can get as healthy as possible before the surgery,” Ketcham says. “Our goal is that by the time he’s recuperated from the second surgery that they have permanent housing to get into.”
The Healing House held an official dedication ceremony on May 4th. Healing House was dedicated in memory and celebration of the life of Timothy Scott Pfeifer, son of Jean and Chuck Pfeifer. Chuck Pfeifer was the first director of MUM from 1973-1998.
The Healing House will primarily serve homeless mothers and their newborns. It will also help homeless children who can’t receive a surgical procedure because they don’t have a stable place to recover.
The Healing House, located on 303 Lathrop Street near UW-Madison campus, is a very large house with five bedrooms.
“So, the maximum capacity would be about 10 people. Some of it is going to depend on the size of the family,” Ketcham says. “Two of the bedroom are adjoining so if we had a larger family referred, it might be one family of five people. I’d say the maximum comfortable capacity will probably be 10.
“We’ve been receiving referrals since the beginning of May,” she adds. “At least one a week. We have enough referrals to fill the house when we open on Monday and have a waiting list.”
They’ve opted not to fill the house on the first day because they know that there is a learning curve.
“But everybody that has been referred we are following up with and starting the process to work with them,” Ketcham says. “It’s exciting, it’s scary… and it’s long overdue.”
Ketcham notes that the Healing House is in need of all kind of volunteers.
“We will have a paid staff person there at all times, but we’d also love to have a volunteer just to be an extra set of hands,” Ketcham says. “We’re looking for people who are willing to volunteer as resident assistants.
“We’re also looking for volunteers to help with meals, help the staff, lead activities for the kids, lead workshops on various topics of interest – that could be hobbies or nutrition or diet and exercise or meditation. It could be a book club,” she adds. “We’re recruiting volunteers for all sorts of help including just being there to help wherever needed.”
If you have an interest in volunteering at the Healing House, e-mail Shawna Lutzow at firstname.lastname@example.org.