Photo: Alma E. Hernandez, For The San Antonio Express News / Alma E. Hernandez / For The San Antonio Express News Freddy Rosario, hugs Gabrielle Rapport, co-founder and executive director of Operation Tiny Home after Operation Tiny Home presented Rosario with his new home, Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Warren High School.

Photo: Alma E. Hernandez, For The San Antonio Express News / Alma E. Hernandez / For The San Antonio Express News

Freddy Rosario, hugs Gabrielle Rapport, co-founder and executive director of Operation Tiny Home after Operation Tiny Home presented Rosario with his new home, Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Warren High School.

Tiny homes, but a big gift for a vet

San Antonio Express News, May 23, 2017

A two-year construction project that had high school students designing and building tiny homes has come to a close, with one of the homes donated to a veteran who not long ago was living out of his car.


 
 

Tiny homes built by local students sold

Seniors from Northside ISD's Construction Careers Academy built tiny homes

ABC KSAT12, May 20, 2017

SAN ANTONIO - While the homes are small, the event Saturday to sell them drew in large crowds.

Over the course of the year, seniors from Northside ISD's Construction Careers Academy built the tiny homes. The largest home was just under 300 square feet.

Lines of people packed into the homes to try and get a look at what they had to offer. There were lofts for beds, a kitchen, a bathroom and living area.

In all, three homes were sold Saturday, priced between $39,500 and $52,000.

Operation Tiny Home was one of the buyers. The organization decided to donate the home to Freddy Rosario, a veteran injured in combat.

"I was amazed. First off, I was amazed that high school students built, you know, built the exterior and stuff," Rosario said. "These tiny homes are amazing. I mean, they really are."

Because the tiny home is on wheels, Rosario said he will be able to take it anywhere.


 
 

Know your nonprofit: Operation Tiny Home focuses on helping struggling veterans

The Union, March 26, 2017

Know Your Nonprofit is a weekly Q&A feature with western Nevada County nonprofit organizations.

[Gabrielle Rapport, a Nevada County resident, is the Founder and Executive Director of Operation Tiny Home. Interview by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership]

WHAT IS YOUR MISSION STATEMENT?
Operation Tiny Home assists people struggling with severe housing instability to maintain a life of dignity through custom high-quality tiny housing
solutions and empowerment training programs.

BRIEFLY, WHEN AND HOW DID YOUR NONPROFIT START?

Operation Tiny Home was originally launched in February 2014 to support Mike, a disabled veteran and family friend. Mike was living a quiet and remote lifestyle outside Spokane, Wash., and when our family learned about his dire and quickly declining living conditions, we committed to doing what we could to assist him. Mike's longtime dream was to be able to build his own tiny house on wheels as an affordable housing solution that would give him the stability and
mobility he needed. We launched a crowd-funding campaign that really took off with the support of the community. We raised over $16,000 and received donations from the Home Depot Foundation and local businesses. We were amazed at the level of generosity that came from the community
to make Mike's dream a reality.

It wasn't long after our story got out that other veterans and their families began to contact us with their dreams of going tiny. Tiny home living isn't for everyone, but for those who find this unique minimalistic lifestyle appealing, it provides a secure and inexpensive housing solution and offers a great sense of freedom. It enables them to take control of their circumstances and take action on what is important to them. This is what a life of dignity is all about and something we believe everyone deserves, especially our wounded veterans. This is why we continue to dedicate ourselves to the Operation Tiny Home mission.

WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY SOURCES OF FUNDING?
Individual donations, major gifts, corporate contributions and foundation grants.

HOW MANY EMPLOYEES DOES THE ORGANIZATION HAVE?
We recently transitioned from being a 100 percent volunteer-run organization to now employing one part-time person. Our goal is to secure enough funding this year to develop our operational team to further support program growth.

WHO IS YOUR PRIMARY AUDIENCE, THE PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT THE MOST FROM YOUR ORGANIZATION?
People struggling with severe housing instability that find the tiny house lifestyle appealing; we are currently focusing on supporting low-income and
combat wounded veterans.

WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY SERVICE AREA (SPECIFIC CITY, COUNTYWIDE, THE REGION?)
We are a national organization, but would love to provide services to Nevada County veterans.

LIST THE BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN YOUR NONPROFIT'S HISTORY (UP TO THREE).

  • Our Building a Better Future Program launched in July and has provided hands-on carpentry and building construction training to over 125 veterans across three workshops. Our Tiny Home Building Workshops are free for veterans and focus on creating new employment opportunities and empowering participants with the confidence and know-how to build a tiny home of their own. Participants learn while constructing a new home that is donated to a local combat wounded veteran in need.
  • We have provided custom, high-quality tiny homes to five disabled veterans that no longer struggle with housing instability in Spokane, Wash., Kansas City, Missouri, Big Spring, Texas, Racine, Wisc., and Orlando, Florida.
  • Bringing on Tiny House Specialist, Zack Giffin, co-host of the popular reality TV show 'Tiny House Nation' as a member of our board of directors and as the team lead for our tiny home building workshops.

WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY GOAL FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

Expand our Building A Better Future Program through strategic partnerships.
Building a solid source of funding to support programs and services growth.
Planning and execution of our Program Public Awareness and Advocacy Initiative.

HOW CAN SOMEONE BECOME INVOLVED WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION?

  • Call us at 650-282-3588, send an email to info@operationtinyhome.org (mailto:info@operationtinyhome.org)
  • Make a contribution through our website: http://www.operationtinyhome.org (http://www.operationtinyhome.org)
  • Become a building partner and/or host a tiny home building workshop; donate building materials and /or supplies; volunteer to support fundraising efforts
  • Join our executive leadership team and/or a board committee.

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/operationtinyhome (http://www.facebook.com/operationtinyhome).


Tiny home fulfills big dream for Central Florida veteran

Wesh News. Anchor Alex Villarreal, February 6, 2017

A nonprofit dedicated to empowering veterans stopped in Central Florida this weekend to give a local wounded warrior a fresh start.

Operation Tiny Home brought its Build a Better Future Program to the Orlando area for a three-day workshop that runs through Monday.

The program brings veterans together to learn construction skills as they build a so-called tiny house for a fellow veteran in need. The homes, typically 750 square feet or smaller, are a new concept designed to make housing more affordable.

"It's going to change my life financially and spiritually," said Pete Banach, an Iraq War veteran who will be the recipient of the home being built at Cornerstone Tiny Homes in Longwood. "I'm going to be able to be a little bit more free to get out and get more of the help that I need."

Banach served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, doing two tours in Iraq.

"I got blown up in 2007, and ever since that, I've been struggling with a lot of issues," Banach told WESH 2.

PTSD, fractured vertebrae and a shattered ankle are just a few of Banach's struggles. But thanks to Operation Tiny Home, Cornerstone Tiny Homes and Fairways for Warriors, Banach can soon take paying for housing off that list.

Builders say this is the first tiny home that will completely meet Florida building code.

"Tiny houses are historically on wheels," said Brett Hiltbrand, CEO of Cornerstone Tiny Homes. "This house is going to be mounted to a foundation with no wheels. We'll deliver it to the site and attach it in a code-compliant manner."

Those behind the tiny homes project say its aim is to ease the burden of housing instability.

"It's stressful, and for somebody who actually has added stress of coming back from war and trying to reassimilate into civilian life, that a lot of times can be overwhelming," said Zack Giffin, a spokesman for Operation Tiny Home and cohost of the television show “Tiny House Nation.”

"I'm just so happy, and I can't wait until it's done," said Banach, accompanied by his dog Brucey. "This is a new beginning for both of us," he said.


 
 
A tiny house-building workshop teaches veterans basic carpentry and building techniques. The three-day workshop was held on a farm in the Racine County community of Mount Pleasant. The tiny houses will provide transitional housing for homeless veterans. For more photos, go to jsonline.com/photos . Credit: Michael Sears

A tiny house-building workshop teaches veterans basic carpentry and building techniques. The three-day workshop was held on a farm in the Racine County community of Mount Pleasant. The tiny houses will provide transitional housing for homeless veterans. For more photos, go to jsonline.com/photos . Credit: Michael Sears

TINY HOMES SEEN AS SOLUTION TO BIG PROBLEM

Journel Sentinel. Meg Jones, July 24, 2016

Mount Pleasant — Scott Wheeler saw the link in an email, Nick Cassell noticed it on Facebook and David Watzlawick heard about it from a friend.

The three veterans immediately sensed the need and came to help build a fellow veteran a place to live. Not just a room but a tiny home outfitted with a bed, couch, refrigerator, microwave oven, TV, DVD player, toilet, air conditioning and heater.

More than a dozen veterans attended Operation Tiny Home, a three-day workshop to learn carpentry and construction skills while building a tiny home in a weekend. The 128-square-foot home on wheels will be used for transitional housing for homeless veterans in Racine. Zack Giffin, co-host of the television program "Tiny House Nation," and Carpenters Local 161 from Kenosha helped veterans operate machinery and build the tiny home from the small floor up to the pint-sized roof.

Cassell, an Army nurse who served in Afghanistan in 2014, had watched Giffin's show for several years and wanted to build a tiny home. So when he learned about the project, he took a day of vacation and drove to Mount Pleasant from his McHenry, Ill., home.

"It was mind-blowing to be into tiny homes and then be able to build one for a veteran," said Cassell, who serves in an Army Reserve unit based at Fort Sheridan. "I don't think any veteran should be homeless. They've done enough for our country, and we should do whatever we can to help them get back on their feet."

The tiny home built over the weekend will be part of the James A. Peterson Veteran Village in Racine where organizers hope to eventually build 15 tiny homes for transitional housing, said Tom Pieske, a board member of Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin in Racine. The plan is to build the village in three phases with five homes in each phase and the tiny homes located next to a larger building for meals, shower facilities, job training and counseling.

The need is great, Pieske said. "If we had six houses done and set on the property, we could have them all filled right now," he said.

Pieske emailed Giffin three months ago after watching "Tiny House Nation" and wondering if tiny homes could be used for Racine's homeless veterans. Giffin got in touch within a couple of days, the weekend workshop was scheduled, materials were donated or purchased with donations and social media got the word out to veterans, most of whom didn't have any carpentry experience. Veterans were paired with Giffin and union carpenters as mentors, and the tiny home quickly took shape.

The tiny house movement is growing in popularity with bestselling books, TV shows like Giffin's and nonprofits devoted to spreading the word of living in small houses with less than 400 square feet.

Tiny houses are much cheaper to build than conventional housing, are mobile and allow homeless veterans to live in a safe, warm, dry place that they can call their own, which in turn gives them dignity and self-esteem. Workshops teaching veterans how to build tiny houses — like the event in Mount Pleasant — give people the skills to build a home that will be used for a worthy purpose, Giffin said.

"You know how they say if you give someone a fish you feed them for a day and if you teach them to fish, you feed them for a lifetime? Well, we're teaching them how to build their own fishing pole," Giffin said.

Giffin noted that the cost of an average home in America is almost $200,000, a barrier that homeless veterans can't overcome. And with veterans twice as likely as American civilians to be homeless — an estimated one in five homeless people is a veteran — tiny houses could be a cost-effective and relatively simple solution.

"When you have this many people without options, the ability to get enough capital to buy a place is beyond them and veterans are a more vulnerable population," said Giffin, adding that it takes an average of nine months to build a home. "But within three days these guys get to see walls go up, electrical put in, framing. You get an awareness within a short time of the construction process."

After hearing about the workshop, Wheeler, an Air Force flight engineer from 1978 to 1995, hopped on his Triumph 800 XCA and rode to Racine County. He missed the first day because of bad weather in Alabama. He lives in Miami.

"I thought — this is kind of cool. I knew I had to be here," said Wheeler, a Desert Storm veteran.

Noting Wheeler's aviation engineering background, Giffin assigned him work mitering window frames, placing fasteners on walls and working on the tiny home's cedar siding.

"He's a perfectionist. I've been putting him on tasks that require patience," Giffin said. "It's supposed to be fun and a learning thing; it's not just building as fast as possible."

Operation Tiny Home has built houses in Texas and Washington state and veterans groups in a half-dozen other states, including Wisconsin, have contacted him for help with transitional housing for homeless veterans.

Watzlawick knows what it's like to live in a tiny house — in Iraq they were called CONEXes, steel shipping containers repurposed into living quarters at numerous U.S. military bases. The Racine man deployed to Iraq twice with the Wisconsin National Guard. He heard about the workshop from a friend and decided to volunteer his time, learning staining techniques and the best way to operate hand saws.

Sweating profusely in Sunday afternoon's heat and humidity, Watzlawick took a break from sawing a sheet of plywood as a hive of activity buzzed around him — carpenters and other veterans carrying two-by-fours, standing on ladders, pounding nails and pulling out tape measures.

"It helps other veterans that don't own a home like I do," Watzlawick said.

 


Tiny House Nation's Zack Giffin will teach veterans to build their own homes

Inhabitat. Lacy Cooke, July 15, 2106

There are nearly 50,000 homeless veterans every night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nonprofit Operation Tiny Home (OTH) decided to help veterans find a solution through tiny homes. Now they’re teaming up with Tiny House Nation‘s Zack Giffin to offer a three-day workshop in Wisconsin to build homes for the James A. Peterson Veterans Village.

The Wisconsin workshop will teach veterans how to construct their own tiny homes, in addition to giving them valuable job skills. The workshop is aimed at all skill levels. Not only will attendees be taught carpentry skills necessary to build their own homes for the James A. Peterson Veterans Village, they’ll learn about design concepts and how to read blueprints. Milwaukee Tools, USA will supply the tools for the workshop. Through the veterans village, Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin aims to give veterans the chance to have stable housing and become “productive members of society” again.

Zack Giffin said in a press release, “Veterans need quality, yet affordable homes, that provide dignity with their living situation, security, and an opportunity to be supported by their country…It’s about recognizing that financial stress and housing insecurity play a huge part in the mental well-being of many of our nation’s veterans.”

OTH said tiny homes can offer “a high level of independence and dignity” for veterans who have struggled with finding housing in the past. This will will take place July 22-24, but Giffin and OTH hope to “jumpstart” more workshop programs around the United States. Other collaborative workshops are in the works for Washington, Tennessee, California, Texas, and Indiana. OTH Executive Director Gabrielle Rapport said, “These workshops are powerful and provide veterans with a sense of purpose and connection to their community.”

 


BEHR LAUNCHES TINY HOME GIVEAWAY SWEEPSTAKES

The paint company's "Dream Tiny" Campaign will also donate $1 per submission to Operation Tiny Home, a nonprofit that helps veterans achieve stable housing.

Builder. Lauren Shanesy, July 6, 2016

The winner will be able to make their big tiny home dreams come true with their own Tumbleweed residence on wheels, decorated with Behr paint colors and outfitted with premium fixtures from Delta Faucet and Liberty Hardware. The grand prize winner will also receive up to $25,000 in cash and a gift card for up to $1,000 for The Home Depot stores. Three first-prize winners will receive a $500 Airbnb gift card and $4,500 in cash which could be used for a tiny house dream trip, and 20 second prize winners will win a $100 The Home Depot gift card.

Behr will also donate $1 per submission (up to $25,000) to Operation Tiny Home, a nonprofit that helps veterans achieve stable housing. The proceeds will be used to provide a home to disabled veteran named Robert in Texas. Robert was wounded after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Construction has already begun on Robert's home, but a loss of funding earlier this year put the project on hold. Behr's campaign will raise the remaining amount necessary to complete Robert's home.

The sweepstakes runs from Friday, July 1, through Saturday, October 1.

The winner will be able to make their big tiny home dreams come true with their own Tumbleweed residence on wheels, decorated with Behr paint colors and outfitted with premium fixtures from Delta Faucet and Liberty Hardware. The grand prize winner will also receive up to $25,000 in cash and a gift card for up to $1,000 for The Home Depot stores. Three first-prize winners will receive a $500 Airbnb gift card and $4,500 in cash which could be used for a tiny house dream trip, and 20 second prize winners will win a $100 The Home Depot gift card.

Behr will also donate $1 per submission (up to $25,000) to Operation Tiny Home, a nonprofit that helps veterans achieve stable housing. The proceeds will be used to provide a home to disabled veteran named Robert in Texas. Robert was wounded after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Construction has already begun on Robert's home, but a loss of funding earlier this year put the project on hold. Behr's campaign will raise the remaining amount necessary to complete Robert's home.

The sweepstakes runs from Friday, July 1, through Saturday, October 1.


 
 


Operation Tiny Home Receives Grant from
The Home Depot Foundation to Build Tiny Home
for Disabled Veteran

New pay-it-forward housing program provides sustainable lifestyle Tiny Homes for people dealing with severe housing instability.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2015

Grass Valley, CA - Operation Tiny Home was selected as a 2015 Community Impact Recipient and awarded a grant worth $3,000.00 from The Home Depot Foundation.  The Grant will be used to purchase materials to help build a Tiny Home for a disabled veteran living in a rural community near Spokane, WA.

“We are ecstatic to receive both partnership and funding from The Home Depot Foundation,” said Gabrielle Rapport, President of Operation Tiny Home.  “This has been an incredible step forward as we race the clock to finish building this tiny home before cold weather hits. Our goal is to move Mike, the recipient of our Tiny Home, BIG Dream project, into this new tiny home as soon as we can. We’ve not reached our funding goal yet, and we continue to ask for support from those who can help, but we’re just delighted that the momentum is growing.”

Operation Tiny Home’s pay-it-forward housing program is built around the idea that a “home” provides a foundation of health, wellbeing, and an overall increased quality of life. With this goal in mind, their homes are based on beautiful and innovative designs that are comfortable, high quality and energy efficient – far more than simple shelters like what is used for short-term emergency housing. Tiny homes built for their veteran housing program are paid-forward to future veterans in need, maximizing impact for many years to come.

While living in a tiny home may not be for everyone, many people are finding this lifestyle appealing as it can provide a great sense of freedom with a profound impact on their lives, their families’ lives, and the communities in which they live.

The Home Depot Foundation Community Impact Grants Program provides support to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their communities. A primary focus of their philanthropic efforts is on improving the homes and lives of military veterans and their families.  Through The Home Depot Foundation and its ongoing partnerships with nonprofit organizations, The Home Depot donates millions of hours, tools and supplies each year to community service projects, like the Tiny Home, BIG Dream project.  

About Operation Tiny Home - Operation Tiny Home is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that assists people to maintain a life of dignity through pay-it-forward sustainable tiny housing solutions.  The Operation Tiny Home Pay-It-Forward Veteran Housing Program provides independent housing for veterans in need of a secure, safe, and comfortable home. You can learn more about the Tiny Home, BIG Dream program and how to help, here: http://www.operationtinyhome.org/tinyhomebigdreamproject

About Giving Back at The Home Depot - Since the first The Home Depot store opened in 1979, giving back has been a core value for the Company and a passion for its associates. Today, The Home Depot, in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, focuses its philanthropic efforts on improving the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families and aiding communities affected by natural disasters. Through Team Depot, the Company’s associate-led volunteer force, thousands of associates dedicate their time and talents to these efforts in the communities where they live and work. 
 
Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $105 million to provide safe housing to veterans, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 22,000 homes for veterans. To learn more and see Team Depot in action, visit www.homedepot.com/teamdepot. 


For more information, contact:
Operation Tiny Home
(650) 282-3588
info@operationtinyhome.org