Homes for Heroes expected to start helping Winnipeg veterans next summer, foundation says

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A tiny home village designed to serve unsheltered veterans is expected to become a reality next summer.

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A tiny home village designed to serve unsheltered veterans is expected to become a reality next summer.

The Homes for Heroes Foundation hopes to start construction on the Winnipeg Kinsmen Veterans Village in spring 2023 and open a few months later, offering short-term housing and support services to help residents secure stable jobs and permanent homes.

“Our goal, with Homes for Heroes, is to end the issue of veteran homelessness. It seems like a lofty goal but we’re chipping away at it,” said David Howard, the foundation’s president.

SUPPLIED The one-acre village site just north of Transcona Boulevard will feature 20 tiny homes, a community garden space (with greenhouse and planter boxes), activity area and on-site counsellors offices.

Homes for Heroes estimates more than 160 veterans live on the streets of Winnipeg. The one-acre village site just north of Transcona Boulevard will feature 20 tiny homes, a community garden space (with greenhouse and planter boxes), activity area and on-site counsellors offices.

Individual supports for veterans could include everything from financial advice to mental-health counselling and addictions treatment. The foundation’s website notes it can take several months or years before a veteran is ready to leave the village.

Howard said the site will cater specifically to Winnipeggers.

SUPPLIED A rendering of the interior of a tiny home.

“Every city is unique…. We work with the community to make sure that we’re partners in the community,” he said.

The foundation has built similar villages in Calgary and Edmonton. Thirteen veterans who graduated from the Calgary program have now entered the workforce, moved into more permanent homes and become mentors for newer village tenants, the foundation said.

Coun. Kevin Klein, who pushed council to approve and support the project, said it is desperately needed in Winnipeg.

“It’s a historic moment for Winnipeg…. It’s the first step at eradicating veteran homelessness in Winnipeg,” said Klein.

The Winnipeg Kinsmen Club donated $1 million for the village, while Canadian Pacific donated $500,000 to become its resource centre sponsor. The Manitoba government is providing $500,000, while a federal Veterans and Families well-being fund will contribute $315,000. The City of Winnipeg sold the land at a deeply discounted price of $87,000 after estimating its market value last year at about $1 million.

Homes for Heroes still needs to raise about $2 million; the project will cost a total of about $5 million, plus the price of the land. Howard said organizers are on track to meet the fundraising goal.

joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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Updated on Thursday, May 26, 2022 2:01 PM CDT: Clarifies description of city estimate of land.

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