background_fid.png
Inform, Entertain, Inspire
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mishawaka Troop Town aims to provide housing, support services to local veterans

TroopTown.jpg
Provided by Jim Metherd
/
Mishawaka Troop Town

Thursday is Veteran’s Day, and according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are upwards of 500 homeless veterans living in Indiana. One Mishawaka organization is working to house some of those veterans in our area.

Jim Metherd is a Desert Storm veteran and president of the local nonprofit Get Wet for a Vet.

 

Since 2019, he’s also been the president of Mishawaka Troop Town, an initiative to provide housing for local vets – whether they’re just returning from deployment or have been in the community for a while.

 

“My dream is to construct something for our veterans so they can have a sense of ownership while they’re transitioning into being meaningful in society,” Metherd said.

 

The project aims to build a community of eight tiny homes near the VFW in Mishawaka and provide a range of supportive services onsite.

 

“We’re going to provide anything from psychological to spiritual to outsourcing community involvement,” Metherd said. “We’re going to provide everything to get the veteran in a place where they feel good about where they’re at and help them secure employment to where they can be sustainable on their own.”

 

Metherd said Troop Town has secured $150,000 in donations and a promise from another nonprofit to build the first tiny house. He said they’ve received several in-kind donations as well. 

 

“We’ll say no to nothing,” he said. “We’ve had a firm that has committed to all the flooring in each one of the buildings, we have another one that’s committed to all of the spouting in each one of the buildings… we need everything, to sum it up – not only monetarily.”

TroopTown2.jpg
Credit Provided by Jim Metherd/Mishawaka Troop Town
/
A potential layout for Mishawaka Troop Town, a nonprofit initiative that aims to provide housing and supportive services for local veterans.

Metherd expects the project to cost roughly $450,000, and the anticipated groundbreaking date is May 14. However, he said the project is one that will have to be sustained “forever.”

“Just building the veteran village and saying, ‘Okay, we wash our hands of it,’ is not going to happen,” Metherd said. “We’re going to have a caretaker that lives onsite that will ensure the veterans are doing what they need to do to better themselves, and you can’t put a number to that.”

 

He said the community also might come together in stages, depending on fundraising and community confidence.

 

“Right now, there could be people who think, ‘Okay, that’s cool, another nonprofit that are saying they’re going to help the veterans,’” Metherd said. “We’re willing to – and we anticipate we may have to – put up a portion of the homes first, because then it’s real. It’s substantial.” 

 

“We’re managing community dollars,” he added. “We have to make sure that we make the best decisions with the funds that have been donated in good faith.”

 

Ultimately, Metherd said the goal is to provide a transitional space where local veterans can get back on their feet, and where fellow service members can help each other acclimate to civilian life.

 

“We all served, and we have everybody’s six. We’re watching their backs,” Metherd said. “Everybody deserves an opportunity, not a handout. We’re going to provide the opportunity.” 

 

For more details, visit the Troop Town website or Facebook page.

 

Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.

 

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating here. 

Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.