our vision
All people will have access to safe and comfortable environs and to tender, expert caregiving as they are dying.

our mission
Our mission is to provide a place of compassionate, safe, comfortable presence and caregiving to our community's most vulnerable people as they prepare for the end of their lives.

our guiding principles and values

our story
The idea for Solace began when Dr. Ann Catlett, while working at a Madison hospital, became aware that some patients–even those diagnosed with a terminal illness–might be discharged to the streets if they had no home.

solace friends, inc.

At around the same time, Ann spent a week volunteering in Washington DC, at Joseph's House, where people experiencing homelessness were cared for in their last weeks of life. The exquisite kindness, attentive care, and true community feel in that home inspired Ann to ask: Does Dane County need a facility like this?

Looking for answers

When Ann returned from Joseph's House, she took her question to local homeless service providers, hospital social workers, and others she thought could provide an answer. After countless coffee meetings, it became apparent that further exploration was warranted and that others in the community wanted to help.

It didn't take long before a small group of dedicated volunteers assembled into a working committee that is now known as Solace Friends, Inc., or simply, Solace. Together, they increased their networking and conducted research to confirm that disparities in end-of-life care truly exist in Dane County.

One of the group's first initiatives was to survey member agencies of the Homeless Services Consortium. The survey, though informal, helped to reveal existing barriers to care, and indicated that of our target population, at least 15-20 people per year may need shelter and care as they are dying. All those surveyed expressed support for the creation of a hospice house dedicated to care for underserved residents in our community. In response, Solace decided to move ahead with the project.

Gathering steam

One of the next steps was for Solace to join The Omega Home Network, a national membership organization of existing and developing community supported social model hospice homes. Omega has proven to be a valuable source of information and motivation, providing access to numerous others in the country (many of which are much farther along in the process) who are working on similar initiatives. Of the 30-some social model hospice homes in this country, approximately six are specifically designed to welcome those experiencing homelessness.

On a parallel track, other "health care for the homeless" initiatives were started in Madison. Ann became co-founder of Madison Area Care for the Homeless OneHealth (MACH OneHealth) which provides direct services to people living on the street. For two years she served as Medical Director of The Madison Street Medicine Initiative, a Baldwin Foundation-supported project which grew out of Ann's associations with MACH OneHealth and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Several Solace members have volunteered for MACH OneHealth's regularly held foot-care clinics.

Taking the leap

Solace became incorporated in 2018; our working group became a board of directors. Solace Friends, Inc., more simply known as Solace, is now a 501c3 corporation.

Solace has been able to work toward our mission thanks to the passionate momentum of our volunteer board of directors, and through some private and memorial donations. We are also grateful for a few small grants and personal donations that have helped cover expenses incurred during our initial planning stage. The greatest boon to our work, however, is the sustained encouragement by local organizations such as Porchlight Inc., Madison-Area Urban Ministry, MACH OneHealth, and many others who share our vision for delivering equitable care and services to this vulnerable population.

Moving forward

Today, Solace is searching for property that is suitable for our "Solace Home"—a place where our terminally ill guests can reside as they receive end-of-life care. More specifically, we are looking for a house (or possibly an apartment) that is wheelchair accessible, and has a minimum four bedrooms, kitchen, dining/common room, two bathrooms, parking, and on a bus route somewhere near downtown Madison. It goes without saying that the structure we choose will be structurally sound and in a condition that affordably obtained and renovated to meet our needs.

If you know of such a property that may be available for purchase, rent, rent-to-own, or even obtainable through in-kind donation, we want to hear from you. Accordingly, we are now ready to receive financial contributions that will be used to fund the acquisition and renovation of the home, as well as, to support the ongoing operational costs associated with our program. We hope you will help. The earlier we meet that goal, the sooner we can begin to serve those in need. To learn more and donate, please click here.

our team

The Solace Board of Directors is currently comprised of ten dedicated volunteers—physicians, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, business professionals, and community activists—most of whom were members of the original planning committee. We are actively seeking additional board members and are especially interested in expanding the diversity of our board, and welcome people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and life stories. Our current board includes the following:

Our Board of Directors

Ann Catlett

Ann Catlett, M.D., (board president) a physician specializing in palliative medicine, is the founder of Solace and the cofounder of the street medicine initiative Madison Area Care for the Homeless (MACH) OneHealth. She is on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Rebecka Crandall

Rebecka Crandall, is a dedicated Human Service provider versed in addiction counseling, grief support, and trauma informed care. Her work is steeped in harm reduction and drug policy reform. She is currently the Project Coordinator for a holistic harm reduction program called the Hope Project, through ARC Community Services, INC. She is passionate about increasing grief and death support in our current care services.

Charlestine “Charlie” Daniel

Charlestine “Charlie” Daniel has been an award-winning advocate and ally to underrepresented groups for more than 35 years. She is past Education Director for Minority Students and Displaced Homemakers through the WI Technical College System, and past President of Access Community Health Centers. She is currently Director and Founder of the African American Opioid Coalition and Program Coordinator for Falls Prevention at Safe Communities Dane County, and remains active in many national, regional, and local service organizations.

Ed Hughes

Ed Hughes (board treasurer) is a retired attorney who previously worked at Stafford Rosenbaum LLP and the U.S. and Wisconsin Departments of Justice.  He is a former president and nine-year member of the Madison School Board and has served on a number of boards.

Katherine Kamp

Katherine Kamp (board secretary) is the former Director of The Wisconsin Partnership Housing Development, Inc. (WPHD) where she also held several other key positions, all focused on the need to increase access to affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods through partnerships among the public, nonprofit and private sectors. She was Executive Director of the Housing Partnership of the Fox Valley, and a Vice President at Lewin/ICF, a large Washington D.C. policy consulting firm. Ms Kamp has a BA from Kalamazoo College and a MPP from University of Michigan. She completed the Achieving Excellence in Community Development program at the Harvard JFK School, and continues to serve as the President of the Board of Cinnaire Lending, a national CDFI, and is on the City/County Homeless Committee for Dane County.

Joan Karan

Joan Karan (fund-raising committee co-chair) has extensive experience working in Dane County nonprofits, including having served for 31 years as the associate director of Disability Rights Wisconsin, a statewide advocacy organization.

Julie Huiras Mascitti

Julie Huiras Mascitti is a longtime Madisonian who works at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Madison. Julie has volunteered with the Dane County Humane Society and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Karen Reppen

Karen Reppen (board vice president) is a former hospice communications professional who currently serves as a hospice volunteer, grief support specialist, and death awareness educator. She is also a board member of the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance, and The Farley Center for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability.

Former Board Members

Lynn Breedlove

Lynn Breedlove (fund-raising committee co-chair) was executive director of Disability Rights Wisconsin from 1980 to 2011. He is co-chair of the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition, and chair of the Wisconsin Council of Churches Stewardship of Public Life Commission.

David Kinyon

David Kinyon has extensive experience in housing locally with builders and nonprofits; statewide with Focus on Energy and residential energy program conception, development, and implementation; and internationally with the United Methodist Church in west and central Africa.

Eric Knudson

Eric Knudson has four years of banking experience and is currently employed at Park Bank. A UW-La Crosse graduate in Finance and Economics, he is also a community volunteer focusing on homeless outreach programs and at Meriter hospital.

Bernard Micke

Bernard Micke, M.D., is a longtime community family physician, the medical director of Agrace Hospice, and a global health activist.

Meagan Minster

Meagan Minster, MSW, CAPSW,is a medical social worker at Meriter Hospital with several years of experience in hospice care. She also has worked and volunteered in the fields of disability services, violence prevention, and diversity and inclusion.

Andrew O’Donnell, DNP

Andrew O’Donnell, DNP, has more than a decade of nursing experience in a variety of key positions and is currently co-manager of the Trauma and Life Support Center at UW Health ICU. His professional passions lie in creating innovate models of care to better support patients and families facing serious chronic illness through better integration of palliative care and hospice services.

Jim Struve

Born and educated in Madison, Jim Struve graduated from UW-Madison with a BA in economics. Retired for over eight years, he formerly worked for a local not-for-profit insurance provider in a number of roles, the last as director for procurement and vendor management. He is currently the president of his foundation that funds organizations that provide food, clothing, and shelter to those in need, and also serves as treasurer for his neighborhood association. Jim is proud and humbled to be on the board of Solace Friends.

Solace logo

contact us

Solace Friends, Inc.
P.O. Box 5587
Madison, WI 53705-5587

(608) 843-8191

sign up for the newsletter button