On our trip to Milwaukee, WI we had the opportunity to stop by Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin (VOW) which is a community center and 15 unit tiny home village in Racine, WI specifically for veterans. This is the first tiny home village for the homeless that I learned about that started my journey to learn more about this innovative approach to housing first for reintegrating the homeless into programs for restoration. Seeing this property in person was an excellent experience for myself but especially for my board member who was able to gain a greater understanding of our end result.
Video of 3D aerial rendering used prior to development
VOW all started with a veterans food pantry and the food pantry is still an intricate part of the operation today feeding not only the residents but many of the veteran population in Racine and the surrounding areas.
The veteran population often times are the last to seek help. You might ask yourself why? Putting yourself in their shoes you learn that they have been through training and taught that they are to protect and serve. They are taught that they should not be in line for help they should be providing the help. There are psychological implications of having been in the military, receiving training, operating million dollar equipment and then finding themselves homeless.
What veterans learn, and we all will hopefully learn as we live our lives, is that there are times when we all are to protect and serve and there are times when we are to ask and accept help.
For the privacy of the residents our tour did not include a look inside however we got some great pictures of the outside, the porches, the garden and the common areas. There are 3 units that are accessible with wheelchair ramps.
There is a community garden area where the residents are able to be contributors as well as provide an opportunity to care for and nurture another living thing.
From the VOW website: “We believe in giving back to those who have given so much to us. At times, our strong men and women will come home and not reintegrate back into society as well as hoped. For these hard times, we are here. We appreciate everything our Veterans have done for us and we will do everything in our power to help them in return.”
For more information about the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin please feel free to visit their website: https://vetsoutreachwi.us