Tiny Home, HUGE Gratitude! Project
A PART OF THE PAY-IT-FORWARD VETERAN HOUSING PROGRAM
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A disabled war veteran, Robert Howland Jr has struggled tremendously with housing instability and homelessness since returning to civilian life. Although Robert remains proud of his service to our country, he never imagined that his return to civilian life as a wounded soldier would leave him feeling so disheartened, discouraged and inadequate. Robert has been living with several disabilities as a result of his time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, including TBI, PTSD and a leg injury which makes it extremely painful to walk. "I left the war zone," he said, "but the war zone never left me."
Robert is now considered unemployable, and while he has been determined 100% disabled by the VA and receives a pension, it is not enough for him to sustain a comfortable lifestyle. For several years prior to receiving his pension, Robert had been living in and out of homelessness, sleeping on friends' couches or living in a tent. He is now facing his 11th move in just 2 1/2 years due to an upcoming rent increase in January. Once again he will be forced to move with nowhere to go.
With the impending threat of homelessness right around the corner, Robert felt that a Tiny Home lifestyle would be an ideal solution. Robert and his family began searching for organizations that could help, and after much initial disappointment, they were encouraged to learn about Operation Tiny Home. Robert's sister and brother-in-law assisted Robert in the Pay-It-Forward Veteran Housing application process and offered Robert a permanent location to park a tiny home on wheels in Big Spring, Texas. They are very excited about the possibility of having him live close to them. They often worried about his safety and well-being because he currently lives over two hours from the nearest VA hospital and often needs to make the long drive in his old unreliable car to receive necessary medical care. Moving Robert to this new location would mean that he will only be 10 minutes from a VA hospital. Living closer to family and having a stable and secure home of his own, along with improved access to medical attention will increase the quality of Robert's life exponentially. For the first time in a very long time Robert and his family feel hopeful for his future.
The Operation Tiny Home team began researching the local code and permitting requirements and the city of Big Spring subsequently approved our preliminary Tiny Home on Wheels plan. With the support of the community and local builders, we were able to join together to start building a home for Robert.
More than half of the 2.6 million Americans dispatched to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with physical or mental health problems stemming from their service, feel disconnected from civilian life and believe the government is failing to meet the needs of this generation's veterans, according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post and The Kaiser Family Foundation.
For more than 1.1 million vets, serving in the wars has left them in worse physical health, according to the poll. Eighteen percent - about 470,000 current and former service members - reported being seriously injured while deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or in support of the wars. Some of those wounds have been profoundly life-altering - lost limbs, widespread burns, massive brain damage. Others have no scars, their physical wounds are under the skin, or they are inside the brain, often the results of accidents or wear and tear on the body, but nonetheless have saddled veterans with enduring pain, the inability to work and struggling with severe housing instability.
In the military, you're taught to never leave a soldier behind. At Operation Tiny Home we are committed to leaving no soldier behind and providing every veteran in need with a comfortable and secure home.
From our hearts to yours, we sincerely thank you.
Together we are the change!
100% of your donation directly supports our programs.