Sanctuary Storage was a free program for individuals who are homeless to store their belongings. Funding was provided by the city of Madison, and run on a volunteer basis. It was announced in October that the lease would not be renewed, and would end on December 31, 2017. Volunteers attempted to contact users to retrieve their belongings, but could not get in contact with everyone. When the lease ended, they decided against going through the items left, and instead dumped them into the dumpster to be taken to the landfill. There were over 75 bins waiting to be dumped when Karen Andro, Director of Hope’s Home Ministries for First UMC Madison, intervened to save the belongings. 

With the help of church members and volunteers, they relocated items to a new storage unit. First UMC, in partnership with Madison-area Urban Ministry and the Tenant Resource Center, rented three storage units, and will work to find a solution for safe storage of items belonging to individuals without homes, and a place to keep important documents, family photos, and precious mementos. Andro said, “Among items found in the dumpster were precious family photos, IDs, Veteran awards, birth certificates, and many important and confidential documents. What struck me the most were the Bibles strewn about and among belongings.”

View local news coverage here and here.