MADISON (WKOW)-- Homelessness is a complex community issue that many groups in Madison are working to solve. One local church is hoping to tackle the problem by forming partnerships within the community.
"We don't have a third of the resources that we need to actually solve these issues," Madison City Council President Scott Resnick says.
The First United Methodist Church invited Madison City Council President Scott Resnick, Mayor Paul Soglin and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi to give a background on the issue.
"We're celebrating our 175th year and this is a very fitting way for us to celebrate because we have such strong outreach ministries," First United Methodist's Director of Outreach Ministries Karen Andro says.
Volunteers with the church already collect food and clothing donations and serve free meals to the homeless, but they're looking for new ways to serve and new partners to help them in their mission.
"We as the churches of the city of Madison need to step up. We need to give of our time and our resources," Rev. Cathy Kuntz said during Sunday morning's service.
Both the mayor and county executive say that creating stronger partnerships with other groups in the community is more important now than it has ever been before. They say the issue of homelessness is growing and local budgets are shrinking.
"Madison is facing over one million dollars in federal cuts this next year," Mayor Soglin says.
City leaders say those cuts would have a significant impact on services for the homeless population. First United Methodist has already formed a solid partnership with their neighbors Bethel Lutheran Church, but they're still looking for other religious groups to join in.
"Hopefully we can get all of these advocates together and figure out a way that we can best serve this community, not individually but together," Bethel Lutheran Director of Homeless Ministry Mark Wilson says.
Sunday morning's discussion on homelessness is just one of many community issues the church is highlighting this month. Members are also holding special discussions on immigration and education issues many people face in the community.