A Calgary effort to provide housing for Canada’s homeless military veterans is getting some welcome support from some Grade 3 students.
Students at Edgemont School are building miniature cardboard villages as models for what the housing might look like.
They began the project while learning about the work of the Calgary-based Homes for Heroes Foundation, which is hoping to build clusters of tiny houses to house homeless veterans across the country.
“The idea is to help our vets reintegrate back into civilian life,” Homes for Heroes president Dave Howard said. “Get them back on their feet.”
Howard visited a Grade 3 classroom at Edgemont School to check out the ideas the students were coming up with in their model villages.
“Inside the community centre they could have some exercise,” student Elliot Kwong said. “To keep them healthy.”
Along with a small house for each veteran, the students also added places for residents to come together.
“It has a clinic and there’s a little church,” student Raymond Li said.
Howard was impressed by the students’ efforts.
“Having the benches and the big open area that you guys have, this is a great idea,” Howard said. “You guys have really thought of everything.”
Both the model versions in the classroom and the life-sized villages in the real world share several similarities.
“We’ll have a resource centre like your rec centre and it’ll have an office for our counsellor,” Howard said. “We have planners. I’m going to have to give them some of your great ideas.”
The first village of 15 tiny homes for veterans is expected to open in October 2019 in Calgary’s Forest Lawn neighbourhood.
Howard is encouraged by the show of support by the Grade 3 students.
“We’re lucky to have our next generation coming forward that cares so much about our veterans, so thank you very much,” Howard said. “You guys should be very proud of yourselves.”
The students hope their project will help spread the word on the importance of supporting veterans.
“They fought for us to be safe,” student Charlie Leonard said. “Now we need to help them be safe.”