HOLDEN — Two American flags swayed in the wind Friday afternoon, June 7, atop of a pair of newly constructed tiny houses in the 300 block of North Mary Street in Holden.
The tiny houses are part of the Veterans Village project.
When completed, the space inside the existing trailer park will play host to 10 tiny houses for homeless veterans.
In November 2018, Camp Valor Outdoors founder and director John Schwent said the project has raised enough funds to build three houses.
“We plan to build 10 but we have to raise more money,” Larry Clarkin, committee chair, said. “We had enough money to do three homes and that is about where we are now.”
Ground was broke on the project Nov. 12, 2018.
Thanks to the help of community members, two of the three funded houses were erected the week of June 2 through June 8.
The project is designed to provide housing and rehabilitation for homeless veterans so they can become productive members of society and get jobs, Schwent told the Daily Star-Journal in 2018.
The trailer park, owned by a former veteran who now lives in Nevada, is managed by his son, Jack Cooke, who helped negotiate the lease of the 10 sites for $50 per month each.
About 15 members of Kingsville Baptist Church along with another area church and community members assisted with the construction of the first two houses.
“That is why I love Holden and Johnson County, because the people care and are always there when you need a hand,” Clarkin said.
Rodger McConville, Kingsville Baptist Church, said the church picks a week each year to serve in the community in some capacity.
Clarkin said the church approached him a while back about helping construct the buildings.
Clarkin said the church told him when it was available and ensured the materials were in the right place at the right time.
McConville said the church divided its efforts this year and accomplished two projects.
He said the men took outside to construct the houses while about half a dozen women assisted with various maintenance, including painting, at the Johnson County Christian Academy.
“We get blessed because we know, we are doing it for the veterans, that is why we do it,” McConville said. “We are doing it for the homeless veterans. It just blesses us. We get more blessings than the people that we do the work for every year.”
Clarkin said the first two houses would not have been completed if it were not for Kingsville Baptist Church and the rest of the community.
“Invaluable, this would not be here if it had not been for them,” he said.
In order for the houses to comply with trailer zoning requirements, 6x6 beams are placed on the runners used to the trailers with the tiny houses built on top.
Clarkin said this will also allow the houses to be easily moved if the need arises.
As work came to a close Friday, all work on the outside of the first two house, except for some painting, trim work and the placement of shingles, was complete.
Clarkin said the third house would be erected in the next week.
After the third one is built and the rest of the work is completed on the first three houses, Clarkin said more must be raised to support the final seven houses in the project.
“Prices have gone up and some of our budget estimates were short but we will get back to raising money,” he said. “We will probably be at a standstill for a while until we get these three all finished, furnished and ready for occupancy.”
However, he said fundraising efforts are still in gear to help fund the remainder of the project.
“As we raise more money, we will continue to build more homes,” Clarkin said.
When complete, the tiny houses, patterned after a similar project in Kansas City, will be 320 square feet and contain a kitchen/living room, bathroom with a toilet and shower and a bedroom in the back near the bathroom.