A dozen veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces who were once homeless now have proper roofs over their heads. The Homes for Heroes Foundation built a whole village of 15 tiny houses in Calgary just for veterans. They interviewed hundreds of veterans in order to get their input into the final design. More villages are planned for other communities across Canada. Here is a story on their village and "tiny homes" for vets: click here
But closer to home there are similar efforts.
In Savannah, Georgia, an Army veteran and entrepreneur has a plan to end veteran homelessness in his community. It starts with building a village of tiny homes.
"The idea that any of us could be homeless at any given point in time, just one paycheck away, it resonates," Tyler Merritt, a former Apache pilot and special operations air mission commander, told Task & Purpose.
Merritt is behind the veterans village project, which is aiming to create as many as 24 single-occupant tiny homes in Savannah. It's spearheaded by the Nine Line Foundation, a veterans charity he founded as an off-shoot from his company, Nine Line Apparel.
"If you lose your family and friends and hit rock bottom, there still has to be some organization out there that can give a hand up, not a hand out."
To date, they've raised roughly $300,000 to support the initiative and built 10 tiny homes, with the goal of moving in occupants within the next several months, and plan to construct the remaining buildings by year's end, Merritt told Task & Purpose.
The idea is to use the village as transitional housing where the participants can partner with counselors and career coaches, and eventually find gainful employment, before moving into a place of their own.
Nine Line Foundation is partnering with Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless on its veteran village initiative, along with Georgia Southern University, which will provide vocational training and career counseling, Merritt said.
Local nonprofits and businesses have rogered up to provide food and clothing to the program, and the initiative's sponsors include the Joe Marchese Commercial Construction & Development, The Josh Reddick Foundation, Coca-Cola, Blu Site Solutions, and Food Lion.