Pottawattamie County veteran presents plan for tiny homes for homeless

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 4:33 PM CDT
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POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa. (WOWT) - It’s a long list: PTSD, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness. They’re just some of the problems veterans encounter when trying to fit back into civilian life.

Pottawattamie County is taking steps to eradicate some of those problems.

Tom Hall of Gretna spent 22 years in the military. He knows some of the challenges facing veterans returning home.

“A lot of these individuals when they started going south, it was, they lost their job, they lost their home, all their stability went out the window so when somebody loses their stability, they feel like they don’t have anywhere to go,” Hall said.

To help solve the issue, Hall presented a plan to the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors for a gated community of one-and-two-bedroom tiny homes for veterans.

These permanent homes are 524 and 720 square feet, respectively, and built on a slab.

The expected stay is up to two years, giving vets time and help to readjust to civilian life.

“We get them trained to do...whether it’s a chef, be a landscaper, whatever it is right? And they can form that into their own community maintenance so when they leave this place, they can go get a job, they can maintain their own property, get back into society and do those things,” Hall said to the board.

The county has a 13-acre plot of land just off 16th street near the Pottawattamie County jail. There are stores and health facilities just across the street. About a mile to the south is the area’s social services center.

But the land the county is looking at is currently leased out to a farmer, who would have to agree to terminate the agreement for the project to move forward.

County Supervisor Justin Schultz, himself a veteran, said there’s a lot of early interest in the project.

“I think we’re going to find that a lot of folks are going to want to come in and we’re going to have to find a way to figure out how to sort that help out because I think everybody’s going to want to be a piece of this,” Schultz said.

The Board of Supervisors raised several questions that need to be addressed before the project can move forward.

They formed a committee to look into the issue and plan to meet again next week.

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