United Way 2-1-1
United Way's 2-1-1 aims to make accessing resources easier for those in need. Simply dial or text 2-1-1 to connect with a specialist who can help you find options for financial assistance, food resources, housing search, addiction treatment, health care, mental health, or heating and utilities assistance.
Our librarians are often asked to find community resources related to food assistance, health assistance, housing assistance, and shelter. While United Way's 2-1-1 is the most comprehensive resource available, the following quick links are helpful for basic needs assistance.
The Madison and Dane County Food Resource Guide is available in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF) and contains information about local food pantries and free meal sites, as well as nutrition program information, including FoodShare (food stamp) information.
Free and Lower Cost Medical Care
The best source of information for free and lower cost clinic options is the Public Health of Madison & Dane County website.
Emergency Rental Assistance is coordinated through the Dane CORE 2.0 partnership. The goal of the partnership is to assist eligible households in need of rental and utility assistance with funding to ensure those bills can be paid.
Housing Assistance and Shelter
The Beacon is a comprehensive day resource center for people who are experiencing homelessness in Dane County. Basic needs assistance includes showers, laundry, mail services, restrooms, and lunch.
Please see the Dane County Homeless Resource Guide for a full list of resources available in English and Spanish.
Emergency shelter information can be found on the Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County website. If you are experiencing homelessness, information about getting on a housing priority list can be found on the Coordinated Entry section of the Homeless Services Consortium website.
Housing Navigation is available, in person, at the Beacon in office 201 (Monday thru Friday, 9am to 2pm) or at the Dane County Job Center (Thursdays, 8:30am to 4:30pm). You can find schedule and appointment information and housing vacancy lists on the Homeless Services Consortium website.
The Tenant Resource Center provides additional housing information, including subsidized and public housing lists.