PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Plans are in the works to build a tiny house village for veterans who have had a tough time transitioning back to society.

At Veterans Place on Washington Boulevard, Director Marlon Ferguson and his staff provide transitional housing, therapy and job training to vets in need.

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However, Ferguson wanted to do something more.

About two years ago, he had a big idea to transform a 3.7-acre lot in Penn Hills into a village of 17 tiny houses, where homeless vets could get off the streets and into a home of their own.

“This will be the future site. It’s called Keystone Tiny House Community for Veterans,” Ferguson said.

To help make his dream become a reality, Ferguson has enlisted the help of Robert Morris University professor Marcel Minutolo, whose class in sustainability is building this solar-powered, carbon neutral, self-sustaining tiny house on RMU’s campus.

Construction on one of the homes has already started.

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A joint project with CMU and Pitt, the house will be the first of the 17 and will be on display to garner interest in the project and to help in the continuing effort to raise funding. A vet himself, Minutolo said his students jumped at the chance.

“By doing a project like this one, we’re able to demonstrate how to build something cost effectively while at the same time delivering something that benefits society in some way – gives back to the community,” Minutolo said.

Using these principals of sustainability, Veteran’s Place plans to build a community center with services and activities like yoga, job training, group therapy and recovery meetings.

In addition to the environmentally friendly homes, the vets will have a greenhouse for fresh vegetables – engendering a community spirit and a sense of permanence.

A little more than a year from now, that vision will become a reality in the form of a tiny house village and a new way of life for those who have served.

If you want to learn more or donate, visit: http://www.veteransplace.org/tiny-house-community

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