Occupy Madison receives Progressive Dane David Austin Award

We have been very busy with construction and getting 28 people off the streets by the end of the year.  We’ve had over 400 people volunteer to build tinier homes and over 400 people donate to Occupy Madison during this time.  All told, there have been about 1,000 people who are making this project happen.  This award goes to them!

Here’s a video of us getting the award presented to us at the village.


Here is the video from the Snowball where it was presented during the Snowball – the presentation is about a half hour into the video

Here is the introduction Dane County Board Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner did for the presentation of the award.

“Since 2011, Occupy Madison has been challenging local elected officials to end the criminalization of homelessness, address the unmet needs of people experiencing homelessness, and facilitate their creative and cooperative tiny housing solution.  OM is truly a housing policy innovator– it’s 3rd Street Village is the first tiny house village of formerly homeless people integrated into a residential neighborhood. In addition to the tiny houses, the village includes a greenhouse, raised bed gardens, a woodworking shop, and a store where OM goods are sold to support operations of the village.

Now, at a time when we are witnessing severe economic inequality, housing injustice, and a pandemic ravage our community, OM is harnessing volunteer power and member sweat equity to build more homes.  OM stepped up to respond to the urgent needs of people living outside by creating a 2nd tiny house village at the former site of Wiggie’s Bar on the northside of Madison.  It will be the home to 28 tinier houses as part of a temporary emergency housing program to keep people safe in the coming months.  In an incredibly short period of time in the last two months, OM launched this project, obtained temporary zoning, purchased the Wiggie’s site, obtained county support, and built 11 conestoga style tinier homes.

Cooperation is the culture of Occupy Madison.  Whether they’re crafting their vision, adopting rules, building houses, growing food, making goods, or operating the store, or lobbying elected officials, OM is committed to working together to get things done.  OM members are housed and unhoused. They are activists, organizers, developers, gardeners, and builders. They’ve changed laws, they’ve changed minds, and they’ve changed neighborhoods (including mine)… for the better.   Thank you, OM for challenging us and leading us.  You’ve inspired us and given us hope. You’ve shown us how we can take care of one another even in the most difficult times.”

We very much appreciate Supervisor Wegleitner’s kind words and are proud to have her a neighbor and our representative on the County Board!

Occupy Madison Wishlist

We are so grateful for the donations that have been pouring in to Occupy Madison!  We are overwhelmed with the generosity of the community.  Cash is always welcome so we can use it where needed, but we know that people like to give tangible items as well, so here’s our wishlist!

At this point, our major donations wishlist items are can be dropped off at 931 E Main #17 during the work shifts for the volunteers and people who are building homes to live in include:

    • KN95 Masks
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Work Gloves
    • Bottled Water
    • Snacks
    • Sharpies
    • Large pieces of cardboard

We are still in need of some tools, at the moment we need:

    • Cordless Jigsaw
    • Cordless Circular Saw
    • Cordless Screwguns
    • Squares, tape measures, staple guns, box cutters, blades, carpenters pencils, etc.

We are assessing what we still need in terms of welcome items for the people who will be living in the homes.  Those items and others can be dropped off at 1901 Aberg Ave on Saturday Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov 15 (10 – 4), but we know we will need:

    • Laundry Soap & Dryer Sheets
    • Dish washing liquid, kitchen towels and sponges/scrubbies
    • Cleaning sprays, vinegar, bleach (for showers and bathrooms)
    • Toilet paper, paper towels
    • KN95 or equivalent masks

Updates for the Week of 10/26/20

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered or offered donations during the past month!  And thank you for being patient while we get things organized.

We have lots of exciting news!!!
On September 30th we learned from our realtor Clint Otto (eXp Realty) that our offer to purchase Wiggies Bar at 1901 Aberg Avenue was accepted.  In the past 3.5 weeks we have:
    • Raised over $50,000 (over 450 donors)
    • Over 50 people have indicated they want to volunteer
    • Over 60 people have volunteered to help with donations of goods (Thanks to Chris Odt for organizing!)
    • Received Temporary Zoning (through June 1) approval through the City Council
    • Built a tiny house and had Fire Department, Building Inspection and Zoning inspect it.  Ordered supplies for 4 more houses (will be here on Thursday)
    • Have a resolution going through the county board for a $200,000 grant
    • Worked with Bachman Construction and their subs (Hill Electric, Perzborn Plumbing and Harker Heating and Cooling), the architect Ed Kuharski and surveyer (Isthmus Surveying) to be able to start construction the week of November 9th.
    • Worked with One Community Bank and the appraiser (Masters-Hall) to get a bank loan to close between November 6th and the 10th
    • Are entering into a lease with Common Wealth Development ($1/mo!!! Thank you!!!) for space to build the tinier houses
    • Had 12 people go through orientation (limited to 6 per week) for the tiny houses and have added 6 people as members who qualify to apply for a tiny house.
It seems nothing short of a miracle that everyone has come together to make this project happen and we couldn’t be more grateful for this community cooperation and support!
The next steps for the project are:
    • Get the leased shop set up and ready for volunteers (Volunteers start Monday Nov. 2nd – watch for an email Friday or Saturday)
    • Closing on the property (November 6 – 10), prep the building for construction
    • Construction starts by Wednesday, November 10th
    • Build the fence (Weekend of November 14th and 15th)
    • Build a communications/admin team
    • Continued fundraising
      • Go Fund Me
      • On-line store set up
      • On-line auction set up
      • Sales of items from Wiggies Bar
If you are received an email that means that we have you on our radar screen and we are thankful for your patience with us!  If you did not receive an email but want to volunteer, email us at occupymadisoninc@gmail.com
Administrative Assistance (Fundraising, Admin, Communications, Donation Coordination)
We have lots of people who have volunteered to do administrative things, which we need!  I will be contacting them this week to set up administrative assistance so you all will be getting more regular updates.
Building the Houses
    • Our goal is to have the people who will be living in the houses help build the houses.  So they will be signing up first.
    • Our second shift of people to sign up is for people who might want to be a shift manager or people with special construction skills.  (This week)
    • And then we will start getting everyone else (Mid-week next week)
Donations of Items
Right now we have no space for donations, however, we will by next week.  Please continue to be patient while we work things out!
Thank you for your continued interest in this exciting project and for your continued patience.  We are excited that with so many volunteers and supporters we may be able to complete this project by the end of the year.  We will be in touch shortly!  In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact us at occupymadisoninc@gmail.com.
The Occupy Family!

When is the neighborhood meeting?

From Alder Syed Abbas’ Blog

Occupy Madison proposes two uses for the 1901 Aberg Avenue site (Wiggie’s). The first is a temporary use for the winter to allow 25-30 people to live in conestoga style huts on the property. The building will provide a kitchen, bathrooms, showers, laundry, Internet, common space, etc. The permanent use is a tiny house village similar to the one at 304 N. 3rd Street and that will go through a full planned development process.

Please join me and Occupy Madison Representative, City staff from Zoning, Planning, Community Services, Traffic Engineering and MPD for a virtual neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, October 28, at 6:00 p.m. to learn more about this proposal. You can join the virtual meeting using your computer, smartphone or tablet, or you can listen in via telephone. You will receive login information after registering at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcudumrpzMsHtIKVuqHVEeQ649cwFAeBn8x

Assembling our first conestoga hut

27 more to go!

This could not have happened without the following people:

    • Bruce Wallbaum and Jesse Ransom – finding the model, finding the materials to order, problem solving on the design and logistics
    • Brenda Konkel, general coordination, logistics
    • The Bodgery and its many volunteers with Jesse Ransom as lead
    • Rob Bloch and Gene Cox – OM Shop Managers with support from key volunteers Tim Jones and Dennis Harrison-Noonan
    • People living at OM village – Chris, Gene, Sofia and Larry
    • And we couldn’t have done it without the design and book of instructions from Community Supported Solutions!

Want to help . . . see how here!

How can I get a tiny home?

Occupy Madison tiny house village is a cooperatively run, self-governing organization.  While the stewardship of the house is free, we expect active participation in our cooperative village, including helping us make money to pay for the costs of the village.

We regret to inform you that at this point we are no longer accepting new residents for our houses, we have more people than houses available.  You can still request to be put on the waiting list at occupymadisoninc@gmail.com

If you are interested in a tiny home, email (or have someone email on your behalf) occupymadisoninc@gmail.com.  The process will be as follows:

    1. Attend an orientation (Saturday at 4:00 at 1901 Aberg Ave.)
    2. Attend two General Membership meetings (Sunday at 6:00 at 1901 Aberg Ave.)
    3. Become a member, agree to the community agreement
    4. Continue attending General Membership meetings (Sunday at 6:00 at 1901 Aberg  Ave.)
    5. When your time comes, you will live in the village at 304 N 3rd St for a week (if allowed by the city).
    6. While living at the village help build your tiny home or help us with our holiday sale, store sales or other activities
    7. Once you move to the new site, continue actively participating in the community and following community rules

How People are Chosen for the Huts

Residence at 1901 Aberg Ave is decided by the membership as follows:

    1. Members: Attended orientation and become a member, people are considered in the order they have attended orientation and attended meetings to become qualified.
    2. Level of participation: People who are actively participating in meetings and volunteering will get preference over those who are not.
    3. Need:
      1. People who are sleeping outside or in cars
      2. People in shelters
      3. People in hotels
      4. People living with family or friends
    4. Are you a pioneer: Are you a good fit for the community, willing to take risks with this project, be a leader, volunteer and have you shown you can abide by the community agreement and city rules.

(Posted on October 12, revised Dec 5)

OM Village Spring Plant Sale – Safer-at-Home Edition

plant sale 2020
Occupy Madison (OM) been growing hundreds of happy vegetable, herb, and flower seedings in our greenhouse… and we’re ready to get them safely to you for your gardens!
This year’s OM spring plant sale is as easy as one, two, three:
  1. Purchase your plants online, here: https://occupy-madison.square.site/
  2. Write down your pick-up date
    • For orders placed between Monday 12 pm and Thursday 12 pm, pick up is that Friday after 12 pm
    • For orders placed between Thursday 12 pm and Monday 12 pm, pick up is Tuesday after 12 pm
  3. When it’s time, come to the Village at 304 North Third Street and look under the tent for the bag with your name on it


We’ll keep our OM spring plant sale open as long as we have seedlings available. Shop early for the best selection!
The seedlings have been grown in a rich soil mix with Purple Cow organic compost, soil, sand, and nutrients, and tended daily with love.
All sales support Occupy Madison Inc, a membership non-profit organization whose mission is to join together to creatively work towards a more humane and sustainable world. OM Village includes five tiny homes, a woodworking shop, greenhouse, raised bed gardens, and store (closed during Safer-at-Home). See https://occupymadisoninc.com/


We are seeking skilled wood workers

We are looking for a skilled wood worker who can supervise 1-3 inexperienced volunteers with hand and power tools making products for the store or in the construction of tiny houses.

Please see specific details in the Shop Managers section of the Documents.

Current shop managers with shifts are:

  • Rob – Tuesday evenings
  • Donald – Thursday evenings
  • Gene – Sunday afternoons

Ideally another shift would be a Saturday afternoon, but doesn’t necessarily need to be.

Reply to this post or email.

4th Annual OM Holiday Sale

Holiday sale and silent auction Dec 2 offers unique gifts while addressing homelessness

Madison-area residents can be part of a ho-ho-homegrown solution to homelessness this holiday season!

The OM Build – OM Village Tiny Homes: Occupy Madison, Inc holiday sale and silent auction will run one day:
Sunday, December 2 from 11 am to 3 pm
at OM Village, 304 North Third Street in Madison.

Raging Grannies will perform holiday tunes at 1 pm and Mike Winckler will sing folk songs at 11:15.

The sale will feature a wide variety of unique holiday gifts made by OM residents and volunteers, including Wisconsin-shaped cutting boards, holiday ornaments, holiday trees from reclaimed wood, handmade rolling pins, jewelry, decorative magnets, potted plants … and more!

The silent auction will include fabulous items from local businesses and artists… and more!

Shoppers at the OM Village Holiday Sale will enjoy refreshments and take tours of the OM Village Tiny Homes, 98 square foot residences that allow formerly homeless community members to enjoy warmth, safety and privacy in a supportive community on Madison’s east side. OM Village remains the only village of formerly homeless people to be integrated into a residential community in the entire United States.

Since Occupy Madison’s founding in 2011 and OM Village’s opening in 2014, the nonprofit has gained support from neighbors and admirers across the country and around the world. The proceeds from the OM Holiday Sale will go towards completion of the village, which includes adding community space, a kitchen and four more Tiny Homes.