OSHKOSH — A collaboration between the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, the Appleton-based COTS Inc. and Father Carr’s Place 2B was announced on Nov. 16. As a result, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation helped fund the purchase of the three-story Holy Family Villa building on Father Carr’s property at 1062 N. Koeller Street.
COTS will own the building and run a men’s shelter on the site, offering long-term transitional housing for men. The purchase was funded by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.
“They will own the building, but will collaborate with us,” John Nieman, executive director of Father Carr’s Place 2B told The Compass.
Cindy Sahotsky, executive director of COTS, told The Compass that COTS will run the Oshkosh program as a transitional shelter just like the one they run in Appleton. In total, COTS has five shelters in Appleton.
The Oshkosh goal, Sahotsky said, is to have about 40 men in residence there within three years. COTS already operates a women’s shelter in Oshkosh.
“The focus (in the new shelter) will be on employment and education,” Sahotsky said, “and stable housing, well-being (physical, dental and behavioral health needs) as well as on social activities, helping make new connections.”
She said COTS in Oshkosh currently needs towels, twin bed sheet sets and pillows. Donations are welcome. (Contact COTS at appletoncots.org/contact.)
Nieman said that Father’s Carr’s Bethlehem Inn will continue to offer shelter to men, women and children, on separate floors. The organization also welcomes donations and is currently collecting for their Christmas dinner and Christmas Express. (Contact Father Carr’s at fathercarrs.org.)
Nieman said that he feels that the new collaboration “will allow us to more efficiently use our space and wisely spend our donations by eliminating the time and cost associated with a large amount of building space.”
Bethlehem Inn, he added, “has sufficient space to continue to provide for the needs of all of our residents — current and future. No services will be eliminated, and our resources will improve through the implementation of our Life Enrichment Program.”
Nieman said he believes this collaboration “will prove to be a true blessing in our community.”
Sahotsky said that COTS is “very excited to be here and to serve a gap that there is in the housing situation for people who are experiencing homelessness. We’re excited to be here and be part of the community.”