With hundreds of people in attendance, the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin opened the James A. Peterson Veteran Village and SC Johnson Community Center’s on Sunday.

It will begin taking applications for homeless veterans, who will be able to live in 15 tiny homes after its final inspection is complete, said Jeff Gustin, the executive director.

“We’re hoping to be able to get these folks off the street and have a Thanksgiving meal here instead of there,” he said.

The tiny home village consists of five, three-home pods connected by professionally landscaped grounds and a sidewalk that leads residents to a community building space where they can shower, enjoy a hot meal and get connected to services like employment counseling, mental health assistance, and addiction programs.

A veritable army of volunteers, donors, and contributors from the greater Racine area and beyond – including a congregation in Illinois that donated most of the 2×4’s used for the interior of the community building – pitched in to make the tiny home village come to life, and Gustin is grateful for every penny collected and person who came forward to help.

Catch up on the VOW’s tiny home village here.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.