Green Country couple starts nonprofit to build tiny homes that will house homeless veterans

MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- A couple set an ambitious goal two years ago to house homeless veterans, and this week the nonprofit organization they started took a major step toward realizing that dream.

A crane hoisted a tiny home Wednesday onto a large trailer at the Indian Capital Technology Center in Muskogee. A team of volunteers spent three days there last week building the home, which will soon house a veteran currently living in his car.

"A dream come true isn't event the words to say," Shanda Heatherly said. "It feels amazing to have it finished. I'm ready to finish the inside now and get Mark in it."

Heatherly and her husband started a nonprofit in 2015 called the Oklahoma Veterans Project with a simple mission: to create housing for homeless veterans.

"My husband and I were homeless," Heatherly said. "We decided it was our time to give back. Somebody helped us, so we want to help all the veterans."

The nonprofit still needs help finishing the inside of the first tiny home. It will become a permanent place for a homeless veteran suffering from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"He helped paint. He helped put up the walls. He helped put up the two-by-fours. He helped put up the siding," Heatherly said. "He helped with a lot of it, yes."

She and her husband are also searching for a spot to house this tiny home and hopefully many more.

"We're still looking for five acres because we'd like to build a community," Heatherly said. "Veterans need that community…They need to have battle buddies in the community to go to that have been there, have seen the things that they've seen, have experienced the things they've experienced, so we really need five acres or more to start our community."

While search for enough land continues, the Heatherlys and their team of supporters are celebrating construction of the first of many more tiny homes to come.

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