“Tiny House” experiment for Homeless Veterans in New Hampshire.
A partnership of Liberty House in Manchester (Keith Howard-Executive Director), The (W)hole Point Institute in Raymond (Alaya Chadwick-Founder & Director),
Raymond Board of Selectman & Raymond Planning Board. (Craig Wheeler, Town Manager etc.)
Visionary Solutions being brought to life.
A cargo van was purchased by Liberty House. The cargo van was renovated by “previously” homeless veterans who now are temporarily housed at Liberty House. The converted cargo van will be lived in by The Executive Director of Liberty House, Keith Howard, for 9 months to determine the viability of this approach as a way to offer a “step up” to homeless veterans who are ready to step into their own lives again.
While this type of housing (small homes) is actively used in other parts of the country, it has never been done in NE due to the 100 degree temperature variations.
This pilot project was approved by the Raymond Board of Selectmen & the Raymond Planner, again a visionary and supportive community governmental response.
The Tiny House is now “sited” & located on the land called “Sanctuary”, the home of The (W)hole Point Institute, in Raymond NH.
On June 21, 2015 - Fathers’ Day. the “Tiny House” was blessed following a ribbon cutting ceremony. In witness was veteran Jack Barnes along with folks from Maine, Rhode Island and Maryland as well as Raymond Residents.
Both Liberty House & The (W)hole Point Institute are dedicated to responding to veterans’ needs through active weaving of community resources, creative innovations with local town government support. Raymond’s leaders also demonstrate such a commitment.THIS type of innovative response is happening in the “Tiny House” experiment.
From the Manchester Union Leader-June 28. 2015
Tiny house offers hope to homeless veterans.
Keith Howard, executive director of Liberty House,
sits inside his tiny home located in Raymond.
(JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
RAYMOND — After months of preparation, Keith Howard’s life in a tiny home has begun.
Once a homeless Army veteran, Howard will spend the next nine months living inside a 160-square-foot cargo trailer nestled in peaceful woods off Harriman Hill Road in Raymond.
It doesn’t have all the comforts of home, but it has all he needs to survive.
The tiny home is part of an experiment Howard created through his work as executive director of Liberty House, a transitional house for homeless veterans in Manchester.
It’s called the Liberty Homes Project, which began six months ago when Howard envisioned creating a home out of a converted cargo trailer — something that’s been done in other parts of the country.
“The notion is that if this goes well, Liberty House will go on transforming other enclosed cargo trailers that will be transitional homes for vets who are now homeless,” Howard said.
After finding a trailer, Howard began making it a home with help from another homeless veteran.
The next challenge was finding a place to put it.
Howard attempted to put it on property in another town, but said local officials there raised questions about the rules and regulations for such a house. He was directed to another property in the town, but was then told he could only set up a model and wouldn’t be able to live in it, which he said defeated the purpose of the project.
A home in Raymond
Elizabeth "Alaya" Chadwick and Keith Howard stand
outside the tiny home in Raymond where he'll live
for the next nine months.
(JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)
After learning about the tiny home, Elizabeth “Alaya” Chadwick came forward and offered Howard a slice of her and her husband’s 65 acres on Harriman Hill Road.
Chadwick is the director and founder of Whole Point Institute LLC and named their property “Sanctuary.”
Raymond Selectman Jack Barnes, who lives nearby, supported the project and urged Chadwick to bring the idea to the board. Selectmen gave their full support at a meeting on June 15. The town’s building inspector and other officials also welcomed the tiny home.
The trailer arrived on the Chadwick property on June 19 and Howard moved in with Lucy, his Dutch shepherd.
Howard has given up the Manchester apartment where he spent the past five years to live in the tiny home.
The water- and airtight trailer has propane heat and a solar panel on the front. It’s well-insulated, has a bunk bed with storage space, a toilet, a ceiling fan to circulate air, and a small kitchen.
The trailer doesn’t have running water, but Howard has a membership to Planet Fitness and will shower there.
Howard said running water is planned for the next trailer.
“I’m already thinking that once this experiment is over how I could design a space that’s half this size so I could tow it behind my car and live out of it and take six months off and travel the country. There’s a lot of wasted space in here,” said Howard, who spent two weeks living in the home earlier this year when it was parked next to Liberty House to get a sense of what it would be like.
A coffee can hanging on a tree serves as Howard’s mailbox. Chadwick said anyone who would like to send him a letter of encouragement can mail them to the Whole Point Institute, attention “tiny house.” She will deliver them.
Chadwick said she became involved after hearing about hundreds of homeless veterans in Manchester in the middle of winter. She established Peace Weavers, a group of people who knit neck warmers as part of a global organization called Knitting4peace.
Chadwick, whose family includes 10 veterans from all branches of the military, learned about the tiny home project when the neck warmers were delivered to Liberty House.
She and her husband, John, have dedicated their land to serving others.
“What an amazing way to be of service,” Chadwick said of the tiny home experiment.
100 hours of sweat equity
Once Howard’s nine months are up, the trailer will be awarded to a veteran from Tamworth who invested more than 100 hours into converting the trailer. The veteran, who didn’t want to be identified, has already begun looking for a spot for the trailer.
Howard doesn’t know how many tiny homes will be available in the future, but he said he hopes to have enough to meet the need.
He knows the need is great from his own experiences. Howard was homeless for six months, battled alcohol addiction for years, and still remembers the times he stole mouthwash from dollar stores for the alcohol. He contemplated suicide eight years ago, but ended up getting the help he needed to turn his life around. He has been sober ever since.
The trailers will be reused as needed. Veterans must put in 100 hours of sweat equity helping to convert the trailers before they would have the opportunity to live in a trailer.
Many people from the local area have offered their skills if additional work is needed on the trailer.
“I think the biggest message is, it’s a call to action. Communities can make a difference if people will step up, see a vision, and put their hands and feet to it as Keith says ‘sweat equity’ and do it,” Chadwick said.
Howard is blogging about his experience. The blog can be found on Liberty House’s website, www.libertyhousenh.org.
Anyone interested in seeing the tiny home can contact Chadwick through the Whole Point Institute at 895-4530.
- See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20150629/NEWS18/150629074/1003/sports02&template=printart#sthash.T3BGvX2v.dpuf
Manchester Union Leader - Editorial
June 29. 2015 7:33PM
A roof over one's head: If regulations don't prevent it
Keith Howard, executive director of Manchester’s homeless veterans shelter called Liberty House, is living out of a cargo trailer in Raymond to help other veterans. His experiment might work — if local regulations don’t kill it.
Howard outfitted the trailer, which has no running water, so a homeless veteran could live in it. The first time he tried to set it up in an area town, he was told it would violate local regulations.
Fortunately, Raymond is a small town where regulations are not a big impediment to helping others. With the aid of landowner Elizabeth “Alaya” Chadwick and Selectman Jack Barnes, Howard found a spot for the trailer. A cargo trailer is not a perfect home. But it beats a tent, a park bench or the shade of a tree by the Merrimack River.
About the only people who would disagree are local regulators. One can imagine the long list of housing and zoning regulations a trailer for homeless veterans could violate, and the equal number of explanations that one simply cannot live in a cargo trailer even if the only alternative is no roof or walls at all.
Thankfully, New Hampshire has not run out of places like Raymond where people can help each other without being stopped by the bureaucracy. Not yet, anyway.
- See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20150630/OPINION01/150639986/1047/news01&template=printart#sthash.UIiGnGrK.dpuf
Liberty House Project Finds Home in Raymond
Raymond Area News
By Penny Williams 2-19-16
The Liberty House in Manchester for more than a decade has been providing a safe, supportive, substance-free housing community for American veterans transitioning out of homelessness. Since opening its doors in 2004, staff and volunteers have helped more than 200 homeless veterans rejoin their communities and regain independent lives.
Now the Town of Raymond has stepped forward to help Liberty House in a project to test the conversion of a cargo trailer into a temporary home for a homeless veteran.
Keith Howard, executive director of Liberty House, came up with an idea that grew into a full blown project to offer veterans a temporary home, allowing them time to transition back into the community of their choosing. But without the support and cooperation of the community of Raymond, things might not be moving forward as successfully as they are.
Howard envisioned creating a “small house” that would be affordable and moveable. He refit an 8-foot by 20-foot cargo trailer he obtained in Maine into a “small house” as a way to offer veterans a housing answer as they leave Liberty House and return to their community.
"I had to put in insulation, a new floor, walls and four windows and two skylights," Howard said. "We put in electricity, a waterless toilet, a bed, room for a rocking chair and a small table and storage space, as well as a stove top and refrigerator and two propane heaters. The 'little house' does not have running water but as we move forward converting future cargo trailers, we will probably think in terms of adding water."
Howard needed a place to put his converted cargo trailer to test its practicality as a temporary home. If it were to be of help to homeless veterans, it had to be something a community would accept and support, he said.
“Having a place to live will provide a veteran a home while he gets his life back on track and transitions back into his community," Howard said. "I tried to locate the converted cargo trailer in a nearby town but the town officials weren't excited about having me. Then I was invited by Alaya Chadwick and her husband John to put the converted cargo trailer home on their land in Raymond.”
The Chadwicks own 65 acres on Harriman Hill Road, and their property is aptly named “Sanctuary."
Howard worked with another veteran from Liberty House who put in more than 100 hours of labor on the project. After Howard tests it out for a year at its Raymond location, the veteran will get the “little house” and take it to Tamworth, the community where he wishes to live.
Howard is spending a year living in the “little house.” He moved in during June of 2015 and will remain until June 20, 2016.
"The Raymond Board of Selectmen have taken the project on as their own and I have spoken with them several times,” he said. “They are willing to be ambassadors for the project to other communities who might be willing to accept this project. The selectmen would be willing to explain to other communities how this experience went and explain there were no problems associated with it."
Selectman Jack Barnes even spent a night in the converted cargo trailer and found it a doable experience. Barnes, a former long-time state senator, said he has been associated with Liberty House over the years and noted it does a good job getting homeless vets off the streets.
"As a selectman I wanted to help the veterans," Barnes said. "I am not speaking for the board, but the vote was 5-0 to approve the project so I assume the others wanted to do what they could to help the veterans as well by supporting the project. If we can help homeless veterans by supporting this, then that's a good thing.
“I can see that this sort of thing could be used to help other homeless people, not just homeless veterans,” he added. “I am willing do whatever I can do to help vets."
Barnes said when he spent the night in the “little house,” it was 80 degrees when he arrived, but Howard cautioned him to turn the heaters off before he went to bed. Barnes said he did so and through the night the temperature inside dropped to 34 degrees by morning, but he survived the night just fine.
"It is a much better place to be than out on the street," he said.
The transformation of a cargo trailer into a living space requires insulation, simple wiring, and the purchase of a waterless toilet, propane-run heater and stovetop. The transformation costs less than $10,000, including the trailer. With a donated trailer, the price drops to less than $1,500.
Howard is documenting the trailer’s transformation and his experience living in it through regular blog posts, photos, and video updates to the Liberty Homes Project webpage. Visit libertyhousenh.org and click on Liberty Homes Project.
The Liberty Homes Project will offer Liberty House residents the opportunity to earn affordable and sustainable housing through putting in 100 or more hours of sweat equity, their own money, and community donations in the conversion of a cargo trailer into a livable, movable home.
Howard said he and his dog have found living in the “little house” a doable situation.
"I am lucky that I leave the house for 10 to 11 hours each day to go to work," he said. "I am not sure how it would be to have to be there 24/7. This project will continue and we plan to convert more cargo trailers and they will go to veterans who put in the required hours of sweat equity converting the cargo trailer into a livable home."
A certificate of appreciation was presented to Senator Kelly Ayotte from the Disabled and Limbless Veterans secretary Richard Redican.
Ayotte said of her visit to the Raymond site of the Liberty House Project, "This afternoon, I was honored to join representatives from Disabled and Limbless Veterans to help them present a check to Liberty House. Executive director Keith Howard and the team at Liberty House work around the clock to provide a support system, and substance-free housing for veterans who are transitioning out of homelessness. I also toured Liberty House's newest project - the Liberty Home, which is a converted cargo trailer modeled after a "tiny home" and is designed for space and efficiency so that Liberty House can work to give homes to a larger number of homeless veterans. "
Tiny House Experiment To Help Homeless Veterans Gains Support
By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, speaks with Keith Howard inside a cargo trailer transformed into a tiny home. (Jason Schreiber)
RAYMOND — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, got her first look inside Keith Howard’s tiny house on Friday.
Howard, the executive director of Manchester’s Liberty House, has been living inside a 160-square-foot cargo trailer on property in Raymond since last June as part of a test to see if it could serve as transitional housing for homeless veterans until they get back on their feet.
So far his experiment has worked, and Ayotte was impressed.
“Obviously he’s showing himself by living here that this is a place that could be livable for our homeless veterans and give an opportunity for them to also have their privacy and their own space,” Ayotte said after checking out the trailer, which sits in a thickly wooded area off Harriman Hill Road.
The 65-acre property known as “Sanctuary” is owned by John and Elizabeth “Alaya” Chadwick, who offered it up for Howard’s test for the Liberty Homes Project.
The hope is to convert more cargo trailers that can be placed on property for a period of time to house homeless veterans while transitioning to permanent housing.
“Our goal is to transition three or four more this year,” he said.
Howard, a former homeless Army veteran, spearheaded the project through his work at Liberty House, a transitional living facility for formerly homeless veterans in Manchester.
So far, Howard said, his stay in the trailer, which will last a year, has gone well. The only problem was the night the water dish for his dog, Lucy, froze because it got a little too chilly.
The trailer is equipped with propane heat and a solar panel for electricity. It’s insulated, has a bunk bed with storage space, a toilet, a ceiling fan, and a small kitchen.
“I could live here forever,” said Howard, whose time will be up in June.
While it doesn’t have running water, Howard is able to shower at a YMCA.
Howard said 15 people have reached out offering to donate trailers for future homes. It costs about $2,500 to outfit a trailer through the work of homeless veterans themselves.
The project got a boost Friday when members of the Disabled and Limbless Veterans stopped by and presented a check for $5,000.
“He’s what we do. He’s helping veterans. He cares,” Mike McNulty, founder and CEO of Disabled and Limbless Veterans, said of Howard and his efforts.
McNulty also praised the decision by Liberty House’s board of directors to no longer accept federal funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as of Jan. 1.
The board made the decision because it’s at odds with HUD’s “Housing First” policy, which has no expectation of sobriety, treatment, or compliance from its tenants.
Liberty House is a clean and sober facility.
Ayotte sent a letter to HUD Secretary Julian Castro earlier this month asking that adequate federal housing assistance funding be set aside for substance-free housing facilities like Liberty House.
“As we focus on policies to reduce homelessness, we should recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While Housing First may successfully help some homeless persons transition into housing, others need the stability, structure and support that substance free housing facilities offer,” she wrote.