By Joyce Corey
The Washington Township Committee recently approved a resolution that would create a micro housing area for veterans. Many are applauding this act since it honors veterans in a very practical way. These men and women actively kept the United States home front secure and, now, the township has a way to offer them their own homes. Ray Chimileski, executive director and founder of OPERATION CHILLOUT, a homeless veteran outreach, provides a tentative timeline. “Once the ordinance and public review
process is completed, we will get word from Washington Township. We are hopeful we can begin site preparation for the home on the approved location in the fall. Once it is fully functional with all systems running, we will be able to move ahead with resident
selection. We are hopeful that will be concluded before the winter.”
The resolution was introduced and read at the August 20th public meeting and final passage was expected on September 17.
Chimileski said, “The project is called ‘STILE’ for Supported Transitional Independent Living Experience.” These tiny homes will be a type of transitional housing, allowing the veterans to stabilize their incomes until they are ready to move on. The first home is
already built and was ‘unveiled’ at the town’s Memorial Day celebration.
The ordinance approves the placement of tiny homes on farmland, with conditional zoning standards. A unique aspect of this resolution is that it requires these micro homes to be occupied by veterans all year long.
Since the approval for these housing units is still in the early stages, the homes will be subject to the planning board review and applicants need to provide proof the homes will adhere to all the necessary ordinances. The resolution approved up to five housing units within the township. OPERATION CHILLOUT will make a list of veterans who are eligible for a tiny home.
OPERATION CHILLOUT has already received many donations for this project, like practical items to fill the kitchen as well as volunteers offering their time.
By definition, micro housing, also known as tiny homes, measure less than 300 square feet of living space and are no more than 13.5 feet tall. They are built on wheels to allow them to be transported to any location.
Micro houses offer all the amenities of home at a fraction of the cost and, of course, the space. Floor plans for these housing units show everything from the living room to the kitchen sink, all in a compact and functional design. This innovative form of housing has been touted as an answer to home ownership for those with limited funds or who want to live in desirable locations that may have a price point way above their means.
Committee member James LiaBraaten said the township is “very excited” about this project.
The resolution to create a micro housing area for veterans rolls out a ‘welcome home’ mat for veterans who have made all homes safer by serving the country in the armed forces.