Our Story

Housing Initiatives is the only organization in Madison that focuses exclusively on ending homelessness for our neighbors who suffer from severe mental illness. Our model is highly successful, with 95% of Housing Initiatives clients never returning to homelessness.


Housing Initiatives focuses on providing safe, permanent homes for Madison’s most vulnerable neighbors – those people who have a severe mental illness and have been homeless for many years because of it. Homelessness is not a lifestyle choice for our clients. Many describe it as being lost in a dark tunnel that they cannot escape from.

We believe the key to our success is found in our three guiding principles:


Every Person Matters

Treating people with dignity, respect and showing them that their life matters is the foundation for hope.


Stability of a Permanent Home

Knowing their home is not temporary is the stability our clients need to mentally and physically heal.

Mental Health

A Supportive Approach to Healing

We connect our clients with over 15 partner agencies for a wide range of support such as counseling, substance abuse programs, or medication therapy. There is no cure for mental illness. As our clients experience ups and downs in their recovery, they take comfort in knowing Housing Initiatives staff is always there to help them continue living independently.

Mental Health

Neighborhood-Based Housing

Our apartment homes are in small, 4-8 unit buildings located throughout Madison neighborhoods. By embedding our clients within a community, they are close to vital city services and they reconnect with society.

Housing Initiatives not only improves the lives of our clients, but we also improve our city.


Our clients best tell the Housing Initiatives story. We encourage you to read more about the people in our Housing Initiatives community. Their stories may change the way you think about mental illness and homelessness.


“After 40 years, I am finally beginning to recover. Without Housing Initiatives, I wouldn't have gotten off the streets, I wouldn't be managing my illness, and I don't believe I'd still be alive.”

- John
Read John's Story