A charity has created a series of tiny home villages to help address the homelessness crisis among veterans.
Homes for Heroes is a national charity in Canada that uses tiny homes and the benefits that come with them to accommodate those from military service who have struggled since returning home.
According to Homes for Heroes, about 5,000 veterans are at risk of homelessness in Canada alone.
The organization explains: “[We] will provide them with housing, resources, services and training to enable them to make a successful transition back to civilian life.”
On October 28, 2019, Calgary’s first Village opened after David Howard, the charity’s co-founder, met with over 200 veterans to find out how they could be helped.
He told Business Insider, “They said, ‘Look, we want to get on a program, not just a house, and get help with the things that we’re working on.”
Howard noted that this isn’t a permanent home for the veterans, but an important stepping stone for them to get back on their feet.
There is hope that veterans who are being helped and who eventually leave their tiny homes to make room for others will return as mentors.
The co-founder said: “For some it could be 14 months, for others up to three years. It really depends on their program.”
Tenants moved into the first village on November 1, 2019 and were only required to pay $600 per month in rent once they had access to financing.
This number covers household expenses, job placement, medical services, PTSD counseling, and education.
Veterans must apply and complete a needs assessment. Places are then awarded to those deemed most likely to be successful in the program.
As of 2019, the charity established another Veterans Village in Edmonton and is preparing another in Kingston, Ontario.
The built and under-construction villages consist of 15 to 25 tiny houses facing each other “to facilitate peer-to-peer support”.
ATCO’s 275 square meter houses are fully equipped with a double Murphy bed, a sitting area, a bathroom and a kitchen.
The advantages of such a small design are that the energy costs for each house are low and they are efficient and have low running costs.
Each park or village also has a resource center, social workers, community garden, and other facilities that benefit veterans.
Residents have easy access to public transportation and access to peer-to-peer support programs.
As an additional nod to their service and place in history, the tiny houses each bear a name that pays tribute to Canada’s military heroes.
The organization explains on its website, “Each of our tiny homes is named for and in honor of one of Canada’s military heroes who made the greatest sacrifice in the service of our country.”
“Should the next of kin of Canada’s fallen loved ones wish their loved ones to be commemorated in this way, we invite them to submit a request on our website.”
The charity plans to build a total of 20 small home villages across Canada.
Howard told the Financial Post: “Our team has worked very hard over the past few years to plan a Veterans Village in the great city of Kingston.
“We are very excited to begin construction and take a step closer to helping those who once stood guard for Canada in Kingston and the surrounding area.”
“We would like to thank all levels of government, our national and local funding partners and our amazing local volunteer governance team for their dedication to this project.”
It is hoped that the Kingston Veterans Village will be completed by November.