Two seasonal resources operating for homeless in Madison County

Nov. 19—Sierra Marling

There has been a community focus on assisting the local homeless population in recent years, especially in the frigid winter temperatures. With so many Madison Countians going without, there are also many wondering what is currently being done to address the situation.

Currently, there are two emergency shelters in Madison County.

These nonprofits are completely volunteer-run and bring aid to those who need it most throughout the entire county.

Madison Home Inc. focuses on delivering services to Madison County as a whole, while Room in the Inn-Berea is a more localized solution.

"Homelessness is not a responsibility of the police department, or our jails, or our emergency rooms. It is a community responsibility," Madison Home Inc.'s Executive Director Melissa Slone said.

The director went on the emphasize that this issue is not going away, stating, "The need is growing here. It's clear when you're coming off of exit 90. You see those tents on the exit ramp. The need is growing. We are seeing homelessness in a way we haven't seen it in Madison County before."

According to Mary Katherine Stinson, vice president of the board for Room in the Inn-Berea, southern Madison County is underserved when it comes to options for those with housing insecurity.

"It can be difficult for local homeless persons to access services and providers in Richmond. It's vital that we maintain access to homeless services in Berea. We're honored to continue to fill in the gap," Stinson said.

Both 501©3 organizations have eliminated a persistent barrier for the homeless to receive assistance by not requiring identification to utilize their winter shelter services. However, those seeking shelter are encouraged to come early, as rooms are first come, first served and capacity is limited.

MadisonHome Inc.

MadisonHome Inc. facilitates cooperation and coordination between churches, civic groups, service providers, and volunteers to provide essential services for preventing and alleviating the burdens of homelessness. Organizations provide various services throughout the year at the 105 Fifth Street location in Richmond, Kentucky, including peer support, case management, spiritual services, and therapy. These services are also available during their winter housing season.

Last year, they provided housing for 139 people, disbursed 5,000 donated meals, and coordinated employment for 14 individuals over a period of 91 days.

MadisonHome Inc.'s winter housing season will run from Dec. 15 until March 15, 2023. Those seeking shelter will need to register at 5 p.m. at 105 Fifth Street in Richmond. Volunteers will run background checks to ensure the safety of all guests while dinner is served, then participants will be transported to the night's participating church. Guests will leave with a sack breakfast and lunch.

The executive director emphasized that volunteering at Madison Home does not look the same for everyone and that there are many ways to get involved.

Ways to serve Madison Home include donating professional services for the renovation of their future headquarters and service space, staying with guests overnight at local churches, donating winter clothing and tents, and building community partnerships to help those who need it. Slone also encourages any employers or landlords who are willing to "give people a chance" to contact her at (502) 771-5277 or

Those who wish to give a tax-deductible monetary donation can do so either in-person at their physical location, via online payment methods on their website, or by mail to P.O. Box 1043, Richmond, KY 40476.

Room in the Inn-Berea

This program has been providing seasonal shelter since Jan. 2019. In the seasons since, they have experienced consistent growth. During their last season, which lasted 90 days, 141 individuals received emergency shelter through this program and approximately 2,540 meals were provided.

This season, they have teamed up with Motel 6 in Berea to provide limited emergency shelter from Jan. 2 to March 15. Those who wish to register for a room should come to Union Church from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a meal and to register with volunteers. Guests undergo a background check before being approved for lodging to ensure the safety of others. There will also be opportunities to meet with a social worker for case management services through a continuing partnership with Clark County Homeless Coalition.

Transportation to Motel 6 will be provided by the organization, but guests are responsible to leave at check-out the next morning, as rooms are first-come first-served each night. However, guests will leave with breakfast and lunch.

Their most vital needs include assistance with transportation, meals, and cash donations, but volunteers can fulfill a variety of other needs as well.

Those who wish to volunteer with Room in the Inn-Berea can sign up for opportunities via their meal train (, e-mail them at, or make a tax-deductible donation via PayPal ( or mail to P.O. Box 1450 Berea, Kentucky 40403.

United Way of the Bluegrass 2-1-1

Help is available for those in need of assistance this holiday season, and finding resources has never been easier. United Way of the Bluegrass 2-1-1 has an online resource that makes it simpler than ever before to find services in your area. Call 2-1-1, text your local zip code to 898211, or visit their website ( if you have an unfulfilled need, from utility assistance to clothing.