Northwoods Veterans Homestead focused on fundraising to purchase land
Northwoods Veterans Homestead is getting a clearer picture of what it wants its village of tiny homes to look like.
It’s aiming to raise $100,000 in the next year as part of its initial effort to buy land and break ground.
The vision of the Northwoods Veterans Homestead includes 16 tiny homes, a Veterans market, garden, and a community center.
That community center will feature a full-size commercial kitchen, rec room, laundry, restrooms, offices for staff and case managers, as well as a tele-health room.
The homes and services would all be made available to homeless veterans in the Northwoods.
Northwoods Veterans Homestead Board Vice President Carla Ruuskanen says it’s all laid out in the organization’s five year plan.
“The goal is to get them in, we’ll do an intake, see what it is that they need to become self-sufficient again and regain that confidence to get back out there,” said Ruuskanen.
The veterans will be able to stay free of charge, though they’ll be asked to take up jobs around the complex.
The idea came from veteran and local businessman Gordy Edington and was based on similar projects in the state created by the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin.
There are an estimated 340 homeless veterans in Wisconsin according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“In Oneida County alone last year there were five and that’s homeless people, that’s not including the ones that are considered to be at risk of becoming homeless at any time,” said Ruuskanen.
Over the last several years, some cities have created complexes of tiny homes to house veterans until they can get back on their feet.
But there’s currently no such place north of Highway 29 according to Ruuskanen.
Ruuskanen says it’s also important to her that Native American tribes are involved in the creation of the homestead.
“They all have homeless veterans as well too. They’re not recognized as often. That’s one of the biggest things I want to do too is make sure we incorporate some Native American healing ways into our program so that, no matter if they’re Native or not, that there’s a way to come in and try different things or when they do come in, they’re feeling more comfortable,” she said.
Right now, the group is fundraising with a goal of $100,000.
That’s to buy five acres of land within the City of Rhinelander and start on some basic infrastructure work.
“Any additional funds raised for this initiative is going to be going towards finishing up with blueprinting and getting some of the architectural stuff down,” said Ruuskanen.
The Northwoods Veterans Homestead is hosting a Pig Roast fundraiser on Veterans Day.
It’s from 5:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Rhinelander Veterans Center, 1002 Coon Street. There will be raffles and food.
You can learn more about Northwoods Veterans Homestead by contacting Carla Ruuskanen at (715) 367-5853 or email@example.com.