Strengthen Oshkosh area housing continuum.
The City of Oshkosh has only 15 units of transitional or permanent supportive housing to help stabilize families living situations so that they can more easily access resources and opportunities to help them improve their quality of life.
Her mother lived in poverty. Her grandmother did too. For a single mother caught in the cycle of generational poverty, hope can feel like it is in short supply. Priorities focus on daily survival. It may be scraping together money for food, finding a place to live, dealing with a family member crisis, or battling an unresolved health issue. Longer-term goals seem out of reach.
A collaborative program made possible by the Women’s Fund is trying to break this cycle of poverty one family at a time. For two single mothers and their children, the RISE 2.0 pilot program starts by providing stable housing through a partnership with Evergreen Retirement Community. With the fear of losing shelter for themselves and their family removed, the mothers can focus their energy on education, jobs and their children.
Enter the other RISE 2.0 partner – Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. (CADASI) – to help the mothers address common barriers to achieve self-sufficiency. In collaboration with CADASI, mothers attend weekly classes focusing on financial sustainability, parenting, healthy relationships and more. The mothers are responsible for a monthly rental payment but for the most part, all other expenses are paid for through the program.
When Melissa, a RISE 2.0 participant, started this program a year ago she was in between jobs, couldn’t pay her bills and had no car to transport her children to school. In October of 2018, she secured a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a healthcare facility in Neenah working 32-36 hours a week. Not having a vehicle, she learned to navigate the public transit system to get to and from work. To ensure she arrives on time, she leaves Oshkosh at 2:30 p.m. to make the necessary transfers to get her to Neenah by 6:00 p.m. After her shift, she waits in the employee lounge until the morning buses start and makes the three hour trek back to Oshkosh.
Through her determination, she has received her GED, taken on additional responsibilities at work, is currently studying for her ACT exam and is learning more about a career in phlebotomy.
The ultimate goal of the RISE 2.0 program is to get these mothers and their families to a place of self-sufficiency within three years. Through this pilot program, the Women’s Fund is hoping to gather specific data that will show just how much money and resources are needed to get a family out of poverty and back on their feet.