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Domestic violence survivor finds safety and community in Oshkosh Tiny House Village

Reimagining Homelessness: Inside Oshkosh's Tiny House Village
Posted at 10:21 PM, Mar 14, 2024
  • Innovative project in Oshkosh provides shelter and community for homeless families
  • House Village: 32 units offering hope to families like Kasha Matuszczak and her son, survivors of domestic violence
  • Lifeline for families like Kasha's after bouncing between shelters

Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in Oshkosh is an innovative project that's offering families grappling with homelessness, not just shelter but also a community where they can rebuild their lives.
The Tiny House Village, comprising 32 units, stands as a symbol of hope for families like Kasha Matuszczak and her son, who escaped domestic violence in Milwaukee and found refuge in Oshkosh.

"The guy that I was seeing after I broke up with him came back to my house and set my house on fire. My 12-year-old son was in the house with me," Kasha bravely describes the situation that brought her to the Village. "Two days later he came back and set my bed on fire with me in it," she adds.

After bouncing between shelters, the Tiny House Village was a lifeline for Kasha and her son.

"I don’t even know how to express my gratitude, just to get the opportunity to walk into something brand new, just to know that it’s yours that it's safe, that you’re not going to lose it in another month," she says.
"When you first walk in here that’s what I felt. It's such a relief. I can breathe The weight was off of my shoulders," Kasha continued.

Each unit in the Tiny House Village spans less than 400 square feet and is equipped with the essentials for comfortable living. But it's not just about providing short-term, housing for children and their families currently experiencing homelessness, it's also about fostering a supportive environment for families in need.

Julie Dumke, co-founder of the Oshkosh Community Kids Foundation, emphasizes the importance of prioritizing children's well-being in these circumstances. With an estimated 225 homeless children in Oshkosh alone, the need for such initiatives is palpable.

Winnebago County's Housing Grant Specialist, Lu Scheer, sheds light on the hidden homelessness in rural areas, further underscoring the significance of projects like the Tiny House Village. Here, families receive not only rent support but also guidance from case managers who assist with finances, job hunting, and counseling.

For Kasha and her son, the village isn't just a temporary residence; it's a sanctuary where they can finally feel safe and at home.

However, the Tiny House Village isn't meant to be a permanent solution. Tenants can stay for up to 18 months, during which they receive support to transition into commercial or Habitat housing. Even after leaving, they continue to receive rental assistance and case management for an additional six months.

Despite the current waitlist, those interested can find more information on the Oshkosh Community Kids Foundation website.