A Community in Search of Affordable Housing


In Oshkosh, there are at least 110 homeless people, including men, women and children.

In addition, 5,800 households in Oshkosh are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing, meaning those residents do not have enough for important expenses like health care, transportation and food.

A few of the members of the Housing Work Group gather a the site of a neighborhood green space project on Frederick Street in Oshkosh during summer 2015. Members include Lu Scheer (from left), ADVOCAP; Steve Komp, Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh Inc.; Susan van Houwelingen, Oshkosh/Winnebago Housing Authority; Samantha Zinth, Day By Day Warming Shelter; Elizabeth Williams, City of Oshkosh; and Jeff Potts, Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh.

The data, along with other statistics and information collected about the Oshkosh housing market, revealed a tremendous need for affordable housing in the community, says Kathy Kamp. As executive director of the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development, Kamp has guided an 18-month-long assessment of the community’s needs.

“Right now, we have determined what is needed, and what we need to work toward,” says Kamp. “Definitely the goal and intention is to produce affordable housing units.”


“The good work that comes out of the planning grant is that they are speaking with a common voice and with that they are going to be able to get more resources than they would have individually.”
— Kathy Kamp, executive director of the Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development


A $12,000 Basic Needs Giving Partnership grant, funded by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, has helped a group of organizations analyze the current landscape en route to a solution. Key findings include:

  • Successes in collaborating to help those in need, upgrading public housing facilities and the opening of the Day By Day Warming Shelter.
  • Challenges to help people transition from emergency housing to permanent housing, giving long-term support for those who have multiple obstacles to permanent housing and maintaining enough affordable housing.

The Housing Work Group includes 22 organizations, individuals, businesses and local government representatives. Motivated by the Foundation’s Tackling Wicked Problems learning experience in 2013, the group formed shortly thereafter and brought in Kamp’s expertise after receiving a planning grant from the Foundation.

A summary of the groups’ findings:



Based on the findings, Housing Work Group members suggest the community move forward on initiatives…

  • to build a 30-bed emergency shelter (which would be a new home for the Day By Bay Warming Shelter), eight to 10 units of transitional housing, 10 units of permanent supportive housing and administrative offices;
  • and increase the new construction and rehabilitation of homes for sale to lower income households, ultimately decreasing the number of vacant homes and increasing the quality of existing housing.

For information about the Housing Work Group and its findings, or to support next steps, please contact the Foundation Director of Programs Amy Putzer at 920-426-3993 or [email protected].

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