ORTING, Wash. — Several years of planning and one global pandemic later the Orting Veterans Village is welcoming its first residents.
Army veteran Gary Burnham is one of those residents.
“They’re not as tiny as people would imagine,” Burnham said. “It's been a lot of people working for me on my side,” he continued.
The tiny home village will serve as permanent housing for 35 veterans. The project is lead by Quixote Communities, a non-profit with similar communities in Olympia.
A project that broke ground in October of 2019.
“In a Navy term this is a ‘forever,'” said Tod Gunther, a military veteran who is on staff with Orting Veterans Village.
“They can come here forever and get their sea legs back. And for some that may take a short amount of time, you know, a couple of years. For some, it may take longer,” Gunther said.
Soon, the residents will guide the direction of the community. They’ll elect a board and host group events. A community that so many have lacked for many years.
“There is a form of trauma that comes with being homeless. I know what it’s like to be walking around on the street in the cold rain, trying to stop and rest at stores,” said Marcus Taylor, a veteran and Veterans Village staff member.
The first five residents moved in last week and five more will move in this week. It's a village they hope will be the first of many.