If you’ve never read the Mod Coach’s blog and you’re in offsite building, stop everything you’re doing and go read it. One article published recently is not just a great example of offsite construction and tiny homes, it demonstrates how the industry can solve real-world problems for the betterment of humanity. It also demonstrates how a community can come together to help each other. (See Modular Homes for more information: https://www.modularhomes.com/veteran-tiny-house-community-to-open-in-harrisburg-pa/.)
About three years ago, Tom Zimmerman started Veterans Outreach of Pennsylvania (VOPA) is an organization that “stands to combat homelessness among Veterans by providing support and services needed to promote an empowered life filled with strength and purpose.” His father was a veteran and he knew how important it was to honor and help those who’ve done so much for our nation.
He and co-founder, Valerie Fletcher who passed away in 2022, as well as board members thought about creating a tiny home community in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for veterans. A plot of land was donated near infrastructure (transportation, places of worship, schools, libaries, and additional medical services) and more community members got behind the idea of helping. Soon, they were ready to start building 15 tiny homes. Their goal is to have these built by winter of 2023, ready for veterans to move in.
Housing instability is a pressing issue faced by many people, especially veterans. The Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) indicates nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless. Often factors such as financial difficulties, joblessness, lack of suitable housing options, and difficulty transitioning back to civilian life are blamed.
Each veteran will have a plan to get them transitioned into society as well. Zimmerman said to the Central Penn Business Journal, “Our objective is to give veterans a hand up, not hand-outs, as we work to restore the dignity and pride our veterans once had when they wore the uniform.”
The Harrisburg community is behind him, too. Churches, individuals, businesses, and government and veterans’ organizations have come out to help this project of tiny homes. It’s a show of what the Harrisburg community can do when they work together.
Not only will these tiny homes be built together to promote a community, but these houses will also have a community center in the heart of it. The community center will have a kitchen, dining room, some medical services, and other ammenties as well as planned activities. These veterans will be able to support and help each other.
It’s a complete community full circle to make this vision a reality.
In a small park space, more housing can be built. The housing is secure and many can be built affordably as well as quickly. The groundbreaking was in June of 2023, but VOPA believes the houses will be finished and ready to move in by winter.
According to the VOPA website, each of the 15 tiny homes will include the following: a bed, bathroom with shower, desk, sink, and counter space with a refrigerator underneath.
Homelessness isn’t a problem unique to central Pennsylvania; you can see it in every major city. Often, homelessness leads to other issues:
Addressing homelessness helps the community, but it requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach. It involves not only providing immediate shelter and support services but also addressing the root causes, such as poverty, lack of affordable housing, mental health issues, and substance abuse. By investing in long-term solutions and fostering a sense of empathy and solidarity, communities can work towards ending homelessness and creating a more equitable future for all.
Pennsylvania’s veteran tiny home community in Harrisburg stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, compassion, and innovation. By addressing the unique housing needs of veterans, this community offers a safe and supportive environment where veterans can thrive. As more communities embrace this inclusive approach, the dream of providing affordable and supportive housing for all veterans will continue to grow and evolve, paving the way for a brighter future.
We can support these efforts, including through our industrial solutions such as appliances, showers and tubs, construction supplies, and more.