MILBRIDGE – Veterans across the country continue to struggle to find housing security, but one veteran is getting some help.
“It was, you know, on a napkin, an idea on a napkin to begin with,” said Scott Shaw, housing rehab manager for Maine Seacoast Mission.
This idea of a tiny house designed for a veteran has quickly become a reality.
Downeast Community Partners and Maine Seacoast Mission teamed up with Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Massachusetts to construct it.
“All the pieces just came together,” said Bobbi Harris, housing services director for Downeast Community Partners. “It’s a passion that we all have for veterans and for tiny homes.”
The construction of the home began in May of 2019 by ninth and tenth graders at Assabet Valley High School with the assistance of lead carpentry teacher, Bill Italiano.
“They gained a lot out of it, the whole construction concept, the unique insulation design. This house is so extremely energy efficient,” said Russ Mangsen, former director of career and technical education at Assabet Valley High School. “The things that we took into consideration, relocating it up to Maine, the construction of the framing of it.”
The project did not come without challenges due to COVID-19.
“That put the project on hold,” Shaw said. “Bill Italiano, the construction teacher, was able to get in the school about a month ago and start tightening up the house to get it up to Maine. We’re gonna finish it up here, which wasn’t the original plan.”
“This whole thing has been extremely humbling to have so many people pitch in, and this is an amazing community,” said Ryan Kuchta, 34-year-old Marine Corps veteran.
“It was a wonderful project for education for our students, but the fact that we’re able to do something that goes to a higher purpose even beyond helping an individual in need,” Mangsen said. “Helping a veteran who’s already helped us is just a heartwarming bonus to everything that we did.”
The tiny home is expected to be completed by September.