Local organization working to build micro homes for veterans - KPTV - FOX 12

Local organization working to build micro homes for veterans

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A rendering of what a micro home will look like when finished. (Image: PureKraze Events for Veterans) A rendering of what a micro home will look like when finished. (Image: PureKraze Events for Veterans)
The Vancouver site where the future Veterans Village will be located. (KPTV) The Vancouver site where the future Veterans Village will be located. (KPTV)

If you drive through downtown Portland on any given night, you'll see dozens of people sleeping under makeshift shelters. Among them are men and women who served our country in the military – veterans from every branch – who fought for our freedom and now can hardly help themselves. 

However, there is a local organization doing its best to spread awareness and champion change.

Nestled in a Vancouver neighborhood, you'll soon find a haven for female veterans. It’s a village comprised of 18 micro homes and one community center where these women can meet, share their experiences, and receive medical attention and job training.

Michael Stacey, president and founder of PureKraze Events for Veterans, started work on this passion project two years ago but he's been advocating for veterans for decades. 

Initially, he wanted to contribute to organizations that were helping homeless veterans. However, he found that nonprofits at the time were either aiding homeless people or veterans. Stacey took it upon himself to start his own nonprofit specifically benefiting homeless veterans.

Now, Stacey is months away from seeing the fruits of his labor, but he has been thrown quite a few curve balls along the way. 

Veterans Village will be built on a commercial zone. In order to make that happen, PureKraze Events for Veterans had to have the plot of land converted to a residential zone – a process that took months. 

Although zoning laws slowed the project down, Stacey was by no means deterred. If he survived Vietnam, he'd overcome these obstacles too. 

It was precisely that personal experience – re-integrating into society after the Vietnam War – that compelled Stacey to build a refuge for veterans. 

"What really bothered me is when I came home in my uniform. I got out the plane in Portland. I was spit on. I was called different names and everything else... I thought that was so wrong. I took my uniform off and never wore it again," said Stacey.

In the early 70s, anti-war demonstrations were common. In May of 1970, even Portland State University students joined in, protesting what they viewed as human rights violations in Vietnam. 

Veterans Village won't just be a community of Vietnam veterans. It will be open to women who have served in any war, at any capacity. 

Once complete, each micro home will be 12 by 16 feet and have about 192 square feet of floor space. The homes will be made with structural insulated panels of magnesium oxide. According to Stacey, these panels will ensure the homes are 60 percent more energy efficient and 300 times stronger than a regular two-by-six frame home. The material is also fire-resistant, water-resistant, and cannot grow mold. 

Although these are all features that Stacey acknowledges will cost more, he said he wants only the best for the residents of Veterans Village. He hopes that one day his community of micro homes will become the standard for homeless veteran housing nationwide. 

Stacey's project is backed by the director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Lourdes Alvarado-Ramos. They both hope that one day Stacey will be able to take the idea for the pilot project to our nation's capital, so that it can be emulated at a national level.

PureKraze Events for Veterans plans to host a few fundraising events in the upcoming months in order to complete construction of Veterans Village. 

If you want more information on how to support their micro-home housing project, visit PureKrazeVeteransVillage.com

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