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Milwaukee Is Building A Tiny Home Community For Homeless Veterans

Transitioning from living in the service of your country to civilian life can be daunting at best, and near to impossible without support. All too many can't quite make it and fall through the cracks.

There is, however, a groundswell of action to get those veterans, deserving of so much better, the help they sorely need.

In Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett made a commitment to homeless veterans in the city that will help them get back on their feet.

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On Veterans Day, Mayor Barrett authorized the zoning that dedicates a 7-acre plot to a new tiny home development just for homeless veterans, ABC News reported.

The project is being led by Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin, which already has experience helping out homeless vets.

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The group built a community of 15 tiny homes for homeless veterans in Racine.

Since that community opened in November 2017, nine veterans have successfully graduated out of homelessness, with healthy bank accounts, improved credit scores, better wellness habits, and of course, jobs.

Each of the tiny homes will be about 240 square feet.

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But the key is the 10,000 square-foot community center, which will have restrooms, a kitchen, pool tables, and laundry facilities, and will serve as a gathering place.

"We wanted to really provide them with a key to their own home," Fiona Murphy, director of development for Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin, told ABC News. "However, the real recovery doesn't begin without human connection."

The homeless veterans in the program will have up to two years to transition to more permanent housing.

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In the meantime, they'll get the freedom, independence, and stability of their own home, as well as a sense of community and social contact.

"It's not enough with just the little house," said Murphy. "It's everything that happens around and after that is the true recovery."

This is a project that comes from the community, for the community.

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Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin notes that no taxpayer dollars go toward the village.

"There's no state or federal money in our program," said Jeff Gustin, the group's executive director. "We do this through private foundations, corporate foundations, giving, and fundraising. We want to remain that way."

The new village for Milwaukee's homeless vets is expected to open in July 2020.

h/t: ABC News, WPR