Kathy’s House: Construction begins on new hospital guest house facility

Milwaukee, WI (June 30, 2020) — After many months of planning, construction is underway to build a new, larger Kathy’s House on a previously announced, 3.6-acre site in Wauwatosa on Doyne Ave. between N. 92nd and N. 87th Sts., near the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center.

Kathy’s House held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony to mark the event.

A nonprofit hospital guest house, Kathy’s House serves out-of-town patients and their families who must stay in Milwaukee for medical care. According to Patty Metropulos, president and chief executive officer of Kathy’s House, the organization has been operating at capacity for the past several years due to growing, strong demand for its lodging services. Over the past two years Kathy’s House was forced to turn away more than 1,000 guests because no rooms were available. The new House is expected to open next year.

“The need is so great, and the new House will double our capacity, from 18 rooms to 36 rooms,” Metropulos said. “More than 40% of our guests say they would not be able to receive the medical care they need without the affordable housing and caring support Kathy’s House provides.”

CG Schmidt is the general contractor for the project and HGA is the architect. Kathy’s House will lease the land from Froedtert Hospital.

A capital campaign to build the new Kathy’s House has raised $10 million of the $12 million goal.  A lead pledge by Froedtert Hospital set the stage for the “A New Home for Healing” campaign, followed by significant gifts from the Fotsch Family Foundation, Ladish Co. Foundation, Schneider Company and longtime Brookfield residents Ginny and Mike McBride. 

“We are deeply grateful for every donation, large and small, because those gifts will enable us to continue to open our doors and hearts to people at a critical time in their lives,” Metropulos said. “We just need a bit more help to cross the finish line so that by this time next year, we can open our doors to more people who need us.” She noted that Kathy’s House has remained open during the coronavirus outbreak, putting plans and safeguards in place to protect guests and staff.  

In addition to doubling current capacity, the new Kathy’s House will have many new features. Unique for guest houses nationally, the new facility will have a separate wing for patients with compromised immune systems and a patient services room where basic clinical services such as blood draws, central line care and video telehealth visits can occur. Rooftop solar panels will help offset heat and electric costs. The House will also have a communal kitchen, dining area, library, family room, fitness room, laundry facilities, courtyard, patio, walking trail and parking, and will be fully compliant with Americans for Disabilities Act requirements. 

“Kathy’s House vision is to be the national model for hospital guest houses,” said Metropulos.

Since opening in 2001, Kathy’s House has provided over 143,000 nights of lodging, with more than 10,000 families staying at the House.  More than a third of families who stay at Kathy’s House have a household income of less than $30,000. On average, guests donate $30 per night, and no one is refused housing if they cannot donate. The actual cost to Kathy’s House is $90 per night.

About Kathy’s House:

Kathy’s House is a nonprofit hospital guest house that provides affordable lodging and caring support in a “home away from home” environment for people who need to travel to Milwaukee for medical care.  Open 365 days a year, it is the only such facility in southeastern Wisconsin that serves patients of all ages, their families and caregivers, and accepts referrals from all area hospitals.  Annually, Kathy’s House serves approximately 1,500 guests; roughly half are patients and half are family members. Most are cancer patients, and more than 70 percent live in Wisconsin. Kathy’s House was founded in 2001 by the parents of Kathy Vogel Kuettner, a local mother of three and cancer patient. She had deep empathy for fellow patients who had to travel to Milwaukee to access care and faced illness without the support of nearby family and friends.  Kathy died in 2000 but her wish to help others lives on.  For more information about Kathy’s House and the capital campaign to build the new House, visit www.kathys-house.org.