Prevention (DIGS) & Outreach

DIGS Prevention Program

Porchlight’s Dwelling Intervention Grants & Sustenance program (DIGS) provides housing-related emergency assistance to individuals and families in Dane County who are facing eviction and therefore at risk of becoming homeless.  Additionally, DIGS offers financial support to those who have secured affordable housing but need assistance with first month’s rent and security deposit.

Individuals and families in need are referred to DIGS through private and public social service agencies, friends and family members, and the local faith community.  DIGS staff assesses a household’s specific housing-related needs, and works to find solutions utilizing the family’s own resources, as well as resources available through faith communities, other social service agencies, and DIGS funding.

Getting Assistance

Eviction/homelessness prevention: The DIGS program now takes eviction/homelessness prevention referrals from Coordinated Entry.  Individuals and families seeking eviction/homelessness prevention funds should call the Tenant Resource Center at (608) 257-0006, option 7.  Each household will be assessed and placed on a coordinated priority list, then will be contacted by the program for which the household is eligible.

Rent assistance:
Call (608) 252-8522 on Tuesdays between 8:30am – 9:00am.

Utility assistance, first month’s rent assistance, apartment application fees:
Call (608) 252-8522 on Thursdays between 8:30am – 9:00am.

Bus tickets, medication vouchers, gas vouchers, help obtaining an ID, travel expenses: 
Call (608) 252-8522 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:30am.

Street Outreach

Porchlight’s street outreach team locates and engages with people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in order to connect them to emergency shelter, housing, and other services based on their individual needs.  Street outreach involves leaving the confines of an office setting to meet with participants where they are.  Porchlight’s team focuses on remote areas in Madison, where many participants are camping outside or sleeping in cars.  Because many unsheltered individuals are disconnected or feel alienated from mainstream services and supports, the team builds rapport by first providing participants with supplies needed to survive in the elements.  By meeting basic needs and gaining trust, the outreach workers are able to continue to work with participants to progress on other goals, including transitioning to permanent housing.

The Porchlight outreach team receives referrals from law enforcement, park rangers, social service agencies, and community members.  To make a referral for a person who may be experiencing remote unsheltered homelessness, call Will at (608) 333-1969 or Ben at (608) 698-2777.

The outreach team accepts donations of general camping supplies, including tents, sleeping bags, and tarps, as well as weather-specific clothing.  Donated items may be dropped off at 1708 Thierer Road.

DIGS Porchlight Tent Campsite DIGS Porchlight
DIGS Outreach Staff