OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV)-Living in Northeast Wisconsin, we may not think a lot about homelessness but it’s still something that impacts our communities.
In Oshkosh, about 200 people experience homelessness on any given night.
“It’s a process not an event and there are many factors taking place for somebody who is experiencing homelessness,” says Cindy Sahotski who is the executive director of COTS a non-profit that helps homeless individuals in Appleton.
A new facility in Oshkosh will give homeless individuals a new long-term place to stay.
“(It) will be filling a gap in services that exists in this community really for individuals that need more of that help and support we are that bridge from crisis care to independent housing,” says Sahotski.
Those involved with the project, called the ‘Build the Pathway Home’ campaign, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning at the new facility. The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation teamed up with COTS and the Father Carr’s Place 2B organization to make this project possible.
The hope is that people will start to be able to move in early next year. The building has 70 rooms in it, but to start officials will fill it with just about 20 people. Guests can stay for up to two years.
The facility isn’t just a place to sleep and grab a meal, but also a place designed to improve all aspects of a person’s life.
“Housing stability, employment and education, well being which includes primary care, dental care, and behavioral health needs, and then we also help them with pro-social activities,” says Sahotsky.
“Getting people back on their feet and teaching them how to go to a job and giving them an education is going to help the workforce and the economy in Oshkosh,” says Bill Wyman who is the President and CEO of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.
Officials Local Five News talked with say that homelessness rates have increased in the last year making this project extra important.
According to the Winnebagoland Housing Coalition’s 2021-2022 Homeless Continuum Report,
people in Oshkosh and Southern Winnebago County receiving homeless services through State Continuum of Care-funded organizations in the region was the highest that it has been in the last three years. There were 428 individuals receiving homeless services in February