Fifteen neat little houses, with exteriors covered in wood and neutral paint, have sprung up in southeast Calgary.
The buildings will house veterans in need, part of a project led by the Homes for Heroes Foundation in collaboration with the Mustard Seed and ATCO.
Move-in day is this Friday, and 15 veterans who have served terms as far back as the Korean War and as recent as Afghanistan, will move in.
Each 275-square-feet house at 908 ATCO Village has complete amenities.
The Village is located in Forest Lawn in southeast Calgary, on the corner of 36th Street and Eighth Avenue S.E.
Residents in the village will also have access to individualized counselling and resources to connect them to other services.
The design of the village is meant to mirror how military barracks would be set up.
“A lot of [the veterans] are living on the street so the first thing we can do is give them a supportive housing environment to live in,” said Don Mcleod, a retired military police officer who works with the Mustard Seed to help council and support veterans.
“From there we are going to work toward independent living on their own one day.”
Mcleod, who will be offering onsite counselling to the veterans who live in the village, said many veterans struggle to adjust to life after serving.
“It’s not hard for them to end up on the street, some just don’t have the support they lost when they left the military and they don’t know how to access them,” he said.
Going from military service to everyday life can be a shock to the system, a completely different structure, Mcleod said.
That, on top of dealing with trauma from serving and a reluctance to seek out help can lead to serious issues like addictions and homelessness.
“They don’t feel that they are deserving of anything and the position they are in right now is their own fault and there’s nothing that can be done for them,” he said.
This housing alternative offers a solution for these individuals and necessary space for them to access support.