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 Amy@OshkoshAreaCF.org.

Published by

OACF Community Matters

Since 1928, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation has helped donors turn their charitable investments into projects that add energy and vitality to our community. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. The Foundation strives to strengthen our communities through leadership and funding support, collaboration and partnership, outstanding stewardship and inspired philanthropy.

3 thoughts on “A Community in Search of Affordable Housing”

  1. What Oshkosh desperately needs is more affordable 3 bedroom rentals. I have been in a crappy one for 7 years and I really want to find a better one but there is none to be had. Just giving my opinion. Thank you.


  2. It is a because of the slum lords who only rent to college kids and charge astronomical fees during the school year. These places are eye sores and the about of $ the get is never put into the upkeep. Same for the slum apartments off Bowen. You ask me landlords should be subjected to inspections too (without notice), their properties should be required to meet a humane set of standards. Just sick of seeing the dumpy slummy places in Oshkosh continue to grow and attract the like people who bring trouble with them. The other thing that needs to change is judging a potential tenant on something on their record from 10, 20+ years ago, when they were young and foolish. Especially when current track record is good. (Reg sex off I get) any other violent crime OK , but non violent that are that old is ridiculous. With lack of affordable, descent housing, the crime rate escalating at a fierce pace Oshkosh will no longer be a place anyone cares to live in.


  3. Yes Oshkosh rentals are geared toward College students. My wife and I were homeowners for many years. Prior to purchasing a home in WI, my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I left my job to care for her. Salary cut was huge 80%+. Filed bankruptcy.

    We’re seeking a one story home to rent in a good neighborhood with absolutely no luck. No one to turn to for help either. Meanwhile we rent a two story house with drafty old windows…


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