"Tiny houses" deployed to help homeless veterans in Southern Ill - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

"Tiny houses" deployed to help homeless veterans in Southern Illinois

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The kitchen is big enough for full-sized appliances in the kitchen. The kitchen is big enough for full-sized appliances in the kitchen.
Bathroom in the model "tiny house" Bathroom in the model "tiny house"
A man and woman look over one of the bedrooms A man and woman look over one of the bedrooms
Rear exterior view of "The Patriot" model Rear exterior view of "The Patriot" model

CRAINVILLE -- Tiny houses may be all the rage on cable TV these days as Americans look to save money, but a local group believes they can also reduce homelessness among veterans in the area.

Vets4Vets chairman Bruce Sheffler announced Friday tiny houses will be placed on land on Sassafras Lane off Old Route 13 in what will be called USA Veterans Campus. A group of anonymous donors is helping it get started.

"They're the people that put all the money up to build the project and do all the land development," Sheffler said.

EZ Portable Buildings will manufacture the homes in Paducah. The company had a model, "The Patriot" cabin, on display at the Herrin Civic Center for a news conference Friday morning. At 16 feet by 32 feet, it has enough room for a full-sized kitchen stove, microwave, and sink. Its suggested retail price is about $40,000, according to a company brochure. However, company executives are selling them for about $37,000 each for this project.

"I think this is going to be so worthwhile," said Ann Colburn, EZ Portable Buildings' Marion dealer. "I can't think of anything that would be more gratifying or rewarding than working with the homeless veterans, working with the veteran community at-large."

Unbeknownst to her, executives at the company's home office were planning to get into the tiny house business when Vets4Vets approached her about a partnership.

"It was just really good timing," she said. "It's all like it was meant to be."

Sheffler, who served in Vietnam, wants to accommodate 100 veterans at the site in Crainville. He hopes the first group will be able to move in within six weeks, saying eight to ten units should be available "immediately."

The anonymous donors aren't footing the entire bill, though, which means Sheffler's fundraising efforts must continue.

"We need all the money we can get because, what happens is, we're going to have to take-up the difference between some subsidized rent and utilities and a lot of small things," he said. "Plus, we're going to have to take people around to get a job and transportation. So we're going to always need money."

His group handed-out a three page application for homeless veterans and family members. You may request one here. The group also has a Facebook page.

If you'd like to donate or request an application by phone, you may call (812) 373-VETS.

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