Zeier Rd temporary men's homeless shelter

Providing Robust Homeless Services, Dramatically Reducing the Number of Unsheltered

Federal funds under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) helped the community transform its aged shelter facilities and almost doubled the capacity of the emergency men’s shelter. Madison moved single men out of the crowded and cramped church basement where they had been housed into new spacious temporary shelters to prevent COVID and give residents more space. Madison reduced barriers to shelter and the men’s shelter is seeing robust usage today.

Owing to the expansion and improvement of shelter facilities, the number of persons in the community who were homeless, and unsheltered, declined by nearly 65% from pre-pandemic days. No families with children were unsheltered in our January 2023 Point in Time survey.

The City also:

  • Increased capacity of facility serving families by more than 50%
  • Increased capacity of facility serving single women by more than 50%
  • Shelter utilization rates, for families; single women; and single men; have all increased markedly
  • Provided safe space and health support for homeless persons infected by, exposed to, or deemed vulnerable to COVID-19
  • Federal funds enabled creation of City’s first legal campground, with on-site services, providing a safe alternative to shelter for some 60 guests during the last year, and helping 25 of them (40%) get connected to stable housing.


DEAR DIARY INC. Re-Writing the Narrative of What is Possible

 With federal ARPA funds, the City of Madison was able to support 900 young people with youth employment and programming opportunities over the last two summers. One example is through the City’s partnership with nonprofit Dear Diary, Inc​, an organization providing mentorship to at-risk Black girls. The organization helps them rewrite the narrative of what is possible.

Dear Diary staff took participants on a field trip to Atlanta, GA to visit the Black Hair Experience, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Black-women owned businesses, and more. The girls were tasked with creating a group project sharing what they learned about Black women who have shaped this country, and how they see their futures as Black women leaders.“Our trip to Atlanta was a great opportunity for our girls. Many of them had never been out of Madison or on a plane before. Not only did they learn so much about Black history, but they built relationships with each other and their mentors that will last a lifetime,” said Yanna Williams, Executive Director of Dear Diary.

Making Mental Health a Priority in Teen Summer Programming

Sponsored by the City of Madison, nonprofit Seein’ Is Believin’ LLC hosted a summer Life Readiness Program to help youth create supported life plans to help them thrive as young adults. Because suicide is the second leading cause of death in America for people 10-19 years old, with Black youth twice as likely to turn to suicide, Seein’ Is Believin’ aims to provide tools to vulnerable young adults who need extra support transitioning into their next chapter.

“My son attended the mental health retreat through Seein’ Is Believin.’ We weren't quite sure how he would respond to this type of an environment, but he told us that attending the retreat was the best decision he ever made. He was also excited to have made a new friend!” said a parent.

Ramping Up Teen Employment Training

Julian at TEENworksJulian at TEENworks

With federal ARPA funds, the City of Madison was able to support 900 young people with youth employment and programming opportunities. ARPA expansion funds allowed The Goodman Center Teen Employment Education Program, TEENworks help more youth learn job skills in 2022. The program engages teens through supported employment using a trauma-informed care approach with an emphasis on social emotional learning. All participants receive financial literacy training, paid job skills training, and opportunities to explore and develop interests.

Julian joined the TEENworks program the summer before he started high school. At the time, he didn’t interact much with peers, but quickly became very comfortable in his culinary classes. After three years in the program, his passion for cooking became his calling. He started running the extremely popular middle school cooking club and worked many of GCC’s catered events. Eventually, he landed on a dream goal – to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York and become a trained chef. Julian is graduating a full year early from high school due to his hard work and determination. His extraordinary goal was realized in December when he received his acceptance from CIA.

NyawerDuring her first summer with the high school employment program, Nyawer spoke of wanting to go to an excellent college but didn't make it one of her written goals. She was very uncomfortable stating it out loud and found it difficult to speak with new adults. Since that summer, Nyawer has chosen each semester to push herself and continue to add new activities and challenges to her time at Goodman. Her confidence and ability to see herself achieving the next goal increases with each new activity. She is now able to help make new teens feel comfortable and accepted. Nyawer shares with new teens joining Goodman that she values the way she has learned to advocate for herself with adults by starting with the trusted GCC adults in program. When Nyawer wanted to apply for the Badger Pre-College Internship at the UW-Madison, she asked Goodman staff for support and was accepted. She next found a STEM Academy program at Madison College she wanted to attend and was accepted in that as well. Nyawer continues to attend Goodman and advocate for herself and her success. Nyawer still talks about attending an excellent college, but now she states it as a real goal and believes she can succeed.

Helping Madison Renters Through the Pandemic

During the height of COVID-19, many Madison renters were struggling to pay the bills. The City of Madison partnered with Dane County in creating the CORE Program, distributing nearly $31 million to over 5,100 residents to remain in stable housing. Of those benefiting from the program, 70% had household incomes at or below 30% of the area median income. Eviction diversion and prevention resources assisted another 775 households who were facing eviction court proceedings.

“I’m so grateful for the CORE program! I would have been homeless if it wasn’t for this program. The job I had let me go due to the pandemic. Because I have a criminal background, it is very difficult for me to find a job and my landlord was threatening eviction. The CORE program helped me pay past utilities and rent, and ultimately I was able to find a new job,” said Aaron.

“The CORE program was a lifesaver for me as an elderly woman. I lost my part time job during the pandemic and I could not find work. The disability I received was not enough to make ends meet and without the program, I would have lost my apartment. I thank God for this program!” said Patricia.

“I was battling COVID, pregnant, and forced to majorly cut my hours. It was hard to function day to day because I didn’t feel well. I was losing hope until the CORE program came along. It made me feel that things might actually be okay. The program was like a hug for this newly single mother. I knew others out there had it worse than me and I am thankful they too were able to benefit from this amazing program,” said Savannah.

Major Infrastructure Investments in the City of Madison

University Avenue is a major arterial roadway for Madison. Over 50,000 people use it per day to travel to/from the west side of Madison to the Downtown. The roadway provides access to the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and many local businesses. With $2 million from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the City is reconstructing the roadway installing a new stormwater interceptor pipe, which will reduce flooding and maintain emergency access to the hospital, preparing the groundwork for Bus Rapid Transit. Plus, a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge will provide safe travel for an all ages and abilities route along the roadway.

John NolenJohn Nolen Drive is the gateway to Madison. Thousands of people use John Nolen Drive to enter downtown every day, witnessing one of the more dramatic view of Madison, the Capitol, and Monona Terrace. With the help of $2 million from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the City is rebuilding John Nolen Drive, including its causeways, bridges and bike paths, and making shoreline improvements.

ARPA Supports Small Business Chambers
Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce are strong partners of both the City of Madison and the State of Wisconsin. The chambers provide hands-on technical assistance and support to businesses. During the pandemic, they received ARPA funding through state grants. The Latino Chamber used the funds to expand educational programming and culturally competent technical assistance for entrepreneurs, grow its revolving loan fund to give more entrepreneurs access to capital and hire more staff to work in communities across the state. The Black Chamber led seminars on how to apply for PPP and other grants, how to pivot during closures and how to engage their customers in new ways. “This grant will allow us to really get off of our hamster wheel,” Camille Carter of Madison's Black Chamber of Commerce said. “A lot of times, when we have little capacity, we dream little. But now we are excited about dreaming big!”

Madison Public MarketBreaking New Ground: Madison Public Market on Madison’s East Side
Set to break ground this spring with $4 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act support, the Madison Public Market will be home to a vibrant, year-round public marketplace where new entrepreneurs and established local business will connect directly with their customers. The Market emphasizes equity through entrepreneurship and is already being embraced as a place in Madison where businesses owned and operated by people of color can get their start.

Dynamic Investments in Madison’s South Side

The Black Business Hub:
Under the leadership of Dr. Ruben Anthony, President and CEO of the Urban League, a Black Business Hub is rising on Madison’s south side. Supported by $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, the facility will address Madison’s stark disparities in Black business ownership and entrepreneurism by providing space to incubate, accelerate, and network Black and other BIPOC-owned businesses including retail storefronts, small office spaces, co-working and collaboration spaces, an entrepreneurship kitchen, and much more. In addition to the physical space, the Hub will offer programming including technical assistance, business coaching and mentoring, grants and loans to help businesses get prepared to succeed as tenants in The Hub. The building will also take sustainability and renewable energy seriously with plans for a solar PV array to help power the building and other green features.Centro Hispano new building render

Rebuilding Centro Hispano:
Centro Hispano is the leading social service provider for the Latinx community. Since 1983, Centro has provided a range of programs for youth and families, workforce and career training services, and numerous community events and workshops. With an ever-expanding list of programs, it has outgrown this space and had been looking to renovate and expand its building. The City of Madison worked closely with Centro on a land swap deal that secured a nearby site for the construction of a new $20 million, 25,000 square foot facility that would keep Centro the neighborhood and allow for the addition of much-needed programs and services. The City also purchased Centro’s existing building at fair market value for $1.7 million. This purchase along with a federal ARPA grant of $4.8 million supports Centro’s capital campaign for the new facility, but also advances the City’s own redevelopment initiatives consistent with the South Madison Neighborhood Plan.

During the pandemic, the City allocated $700,000 of ARPA funds to community partners who were connected to and worked with undocumented residents in Madison. The funds helped undocumented residents and families cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling them to pay rents, buy groceries or meet other daily living needs. Many of these residents were employed in the service sector, which was severely impacted by the pandemic, and they were ineligible to receive direct assistance payments and other benefits the federal government provided to American households to help compensate for job or wage losses.​

Jeff "JP" Patterson of JP's Hair Design

Federal Funds Support Madison’s Diverse Small Businesses The City of Madison offered Small Business Equity and Recovery Grants funded by the federal government to a diverse array of small business owners. The City gave 348 grants of up to $10,000 totaling $2.2 million. Businesses had to be independently-owned, owned by historically underrepresented people, and have annual revenue less than $750,000.

JP Hair Design

JP Hair Design, owned by Jeff “JP” Patterson, is a beloved, long standing barbershop and hair design center that serves mainly communities of color in Madison. In addition to cutting hair, JP’s has partnered with the City-County public health department to educate and vaccinate during the pandemic. JP’s strong community connections and partnerships ensure that the small shop has an outsized impact on the community. In 2020, they received a Small Business Equity and Recovery Grant to help them during the worst of the pandemic.

“The Small Business Equity and Recovery Grant allowed JP Hair Design, Inc. to outfit each barber and the establishment with appropriate PPE gear. This gave our clients and staff confidence that we were trying our best to control any spread of the virus in our establishment. The grant also provided cashflow during the hesitation of some clients coming back into the public. We were able to stay out of the red with assistance from the grant, it definitely helped me keep my doors open,” said JP.


Anthology is woman-owned paper and craft shop on the iconic State Street in Madison. Owned by two sisters, the store’s mission is to facilitate creativity by selling works by local and independent artists. In 2020, they received they received Small Business Equity and Recovery Grant and other federally funded supports. They are very thankful for the support received and have recovered well. “We are grateful for the ways government and our customers stepped up during 2020, and the random luck of moving into a bigger space in 2018 that positioned us to thrive. Though sales dropped significantly in 2020 we had a true bounce back in 2021 and are on pace to set new records,” wrote Laura Komai, which they did in 2022 highest sales ever.

Green Power Apprentice Brooke Peterson

Green Power Apprentice Brooke PetersonBrooke Peterson is in her third year with the City of Madison’s GreenPower program which trains young people from diverse background in solar and electric. Trainees work under licensed City electricians to install PV solar, EV chargers, and LED lighting at City buildings. Brooke was excited by this opportunity after seeing the value that her brother gained from a career in the trades. The Green Power program staff spent a lot of time in the past few years working on a variety of projects improving the community that were directly supported by the American Rescue Plan. GreenPower is also planning to install solar for Madison's first Public Market. The Public Market is supported by a $4 million ARPA grant and will begin construction this year. By emphasizing equity through entrepreneurship, the Market is already being embraced as a place where businesses owned and operated by people of color, women, and first-generation immigrants can get their start.

American Rescue Plan Kept Essential Services Running

When COVID-19 hit, Madison Metro reduced its bus service by 35% and offered free fares so that essential workers and residents could continue to access critical destinations such as hospitals, grocery stores and doctor’s offices. Metro used ARPA funding to keep drivers on the payroll and redeploy them to our maintenance unit to deep clean buses on a daily basis. ARPA also allowed Metro Transit to install and provide critical safety equipment, keeping drivers and passengers safe as they traveled. More than 50 drivers a day were in the garage wiping down bus interiors with bleach to provide as safe an environment as possible for their passengers and coworkers. By keeping its workforce intact, Metro was quickly able to quickly increase its service back to more regular levels when the effects of the pandemic started to lessen.

Now Metro is using American Rescue Plan funding to update all aging technology systems to allow its system to operate more safely, efficiently, and passenger-friendly than ever before as Madison gets ready to transition to a more modern, electric and rapid Metro system.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Helping Madison Create a Bus Rapid Transit System

Mayor Rhodes-Conway with Governor Evers and Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson at BRT groundbreaking event

They City of Madison has been working to reduce our carbon pollution to improve air quality and public health, lower utility bills for residents and businesses, and create more opportunities for and access to good paying, high quality jobs.

The City has recently undertaken a complete new service design and is working on implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the City for the first time. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allows Metro to upgrade all of its 46 BRT buses to all-electric vehicles. With each of Metro’s current buses using approximately 5,658 gallons diesel each year, electric buses are expected to conserve nearly a quarter million gallons of fuel yearly as well as save the City up to $125,000 in maintenance costs per vehicle during the lifetime of each bus.As these projects are brought online, the community can look forward to the rewards of a robust high-quality transportation system that provides better access to jobs, more equal access to opportunity, reduced traffic congestion, and cleaner air to breathe.