The Homes for Heroes Foundation is hoping to open the doors to its second tiny home village by the end of 2020. The project would provide housing and supports for homeless veterans living in Edmonton.
The foundation said officials estimate 70 veterans experience homelessness in Edmonton after struggling to transition from their military careers to civilian life. Across Canada, that number grows to 3,500. Homes for Heroes’ director of fund development, Cameron Diggon, believes it is likely closer to 7,000.
“Veterans don’t tend to self-identify. They won’t say they are a veteran, either out of pride or fear of losing a benefit,” explained Diggon.
“There are a lot of veterans who don’t visit shelters. They are either out there living rough or they’re couch surfing at a buddy’s place, one buddy to another.”
Canada’s first Homes for Heroes village opened in Calgary’s on Nov. 1.
The community in Forest Lawn has 15 tiny homes along with a resource centre, family suite, counsellor suite and community gardens. Each home is under 300 square feet.
“They’re beautiful. They have everything that a larger home would have.”
“There is a fully equipped kitchen, there is a bedroom area. In the kitchen, there’s a place that’s either a workplace, workbench or a dining area. They’ve got everything they need,” Diggon said.
The city and the foundation have agreed on a 25-year lease in the community of Evansdale to build the tiny home village. It would be located near 94A Street and 153 Avenue.
There is no government support for the project and Homes for Heroes is relying on private funding.
Once built, the foundation would work with Homeward Trust, the legions, Military Family Resource Centre and Vets Canada to identify potential residents.
“We would have boots on the ground looking for homeless veterans to identify them all and then triage their needs,” said Diggon.
The foundation is working on buildings sites in B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and in the Maritimes.
—With files from Heide Pearson