Even with the recent economic growth in America, the record setting low unemployment rates and a rising number of job openings, there is a serious problem of homelessness among military veterans. There are many veterans today who are homeless and currently living on the streets and alleys. While some of these individuals have jobs, many of the homeless are unemployed. Most of these homeless vets are simply invisible to others. This problem is nationwide in scale, contributes to other problems for the veterans involved and must be addressed.

The number of these homeless American veterans is significant. On an average night, over 40,000 former service men and women are without a permanent home. While churches and volunteer organizations do their best to provide shelter on a temporary or nightly basis, a large number of individuals still live on the streets and often struggle to survive. It’s difficult to move into a productive civilian life under these conditions.

Volunteer groups that work to provide safe places to sleep for the night are important, but this only touches the surface of the problems. Individuals face a variety of challenges while at the same time they are working at getting back on their feet. Groups of veterans and committed volunteers have been leading the way in dealing with these problems.

These groups are committed to working with veterans to develop workable solutions for groups of veterans. When returning veterans finish their service commitment, they may find themselves with a series of problems related to their time and experience in the service. A significant number of vets may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional and physical problems or a variety of disabilities and drug dependencies. For some, the return to civilian life is not always a happy homecoming. Their challenges often result in difficulty finding or maintaining a job. Pressures may develop that result in loss of family, work and home. These negative circumstances have pushed many veterans into living on the streets.

Groups like the Clara White Mission of Jacksonville, Florida and the Veterans Community Project of Kansas City, Missouri have begun unique programs to create housing for veterans. These two groups have created projects to build tiny houses for veterans. Local businesses, volunteers and non-profits work together to build these simple houses. Veterans who will occupy the tiny houses are encouraged to help construct them. The houses are grouped together in an attempt to create a neighborhood. These groups are houses are generally located near a sponsoring group’s offices or headquarters in order to help facilitate a sense of community. These simple structures are approximately 200 square feet in size and including a bed and an area for relaxing. Where possible, these houses use recycled and reclaimed materials to provide an environmentally friendly. Veterans who will be living in them are encouraged to assist in the building process.

Resolving the homelessness problem is an important step towards helping veterans reintegrate themselves into civilian society. These tiny houses create a safe place that is warm and dry for the veterans as they work to re-establish themselves and move into productive society.