After the veterans come back from their service, they experience difficulty getting back into day-to-day life. Veterans that are unable to find a job that will take care of their bills end up without a home. A city in Canada is starting to take action for the homelessness of veterans by giving them housing in a separate village filled with tiny homes.
Veterans can face the challenge of finding affordable housing, just like the rest of the civilians. This, alongside the other troubles that they experience from extended or multiple deployments, veterans have a hard time living a regular life and giving them lots of problems with housing stability. About 40,000 American veterans were homeless in early 2019 whereas in Canada at the moment, there are about 3,500 homeless veterans.
An organization in Canada, called The Homes for Heroes Foundation, took initiative to find the solution for the homeless veterans. The organization chose to address the problem with building villages of tiny homes for the veterans to live in.
The organization’s website has a statement saying that their “mission is to provide a caring, innovative and comprehensive solution to homelessness among our veterans.”
These tiny houses are built as affordable housing villages in major Canadian cities. Additionally, the foundation will help tutor the veterans with resources, training, and services so they can go on with their lives being independent.
The first tiny home village that Homes for Heroes was opened on November 1, 2019, in Calgary. The village contains 15 tiny houses and each house is about 275 square feet. These tiny houses have a bathroom, a kitchen, a dual-function sofa and a Murphy bed, and built-in storage. Additionally, every house has WiFi, phone lines, and basic cable.
Don McLeod, a worker for the organization, made an interview with CTV’s ‘Your Morning’, stating that “The idea behind the village is to bring the veterans together so that they can interact and support each other.”
McLeod made an interview with 16 veterans and by questioning them, he found out that the difficulties that they were going through were with mental health, finances, or substance abuse. McLeod added that “We find them, we’re going to house them, and we’re going to give them the opportunity to engage with programs we’re going to provide for them.”
The main goal of the villages is to be able to aid the veterans to start living independently. McLeod said that “The program… will give them a place to stay and sleep, and then we can work together as a team to move them forwards… in their lives.”
Different community organizations have made initiations to support the project. Veteran Affairs and the local food bank provided their help.
On the aid from different organizations, McLeod added that “We’ve had so many different organizations working so hard to assist in this project, which is why I say this is going to be such a wonderful success.”
Veterans can stay in the tiny home village as long as they want to, but the goal of the organization is for them to be able to live independently in two years.
Another village is planned by Homes for Heroes to be built with the city of Edmonton, however, their goal is to have tiny home villages across all of Canada.