In 2018, American Legion Post 32 in Cottage Grove, Ore., was looking to sell a .16-acre parcel of land that it owned adjacent to the post. But the post wanted to make sure the land was used in the right way.
After connecting with the Homes for Good, Lane County’s housing agency that helps low-income residents with the logistics of affordable housing, the post has ensured that will happen.
This summer will see the completion of Legion Cottages, which will provide four tiny homes on the former Legion property that will be rented to low-income homeless veterans.
“We wanted to sell the property, but we wanted to put it to good use to see if we could put some tiny homes on there,” Post 32 Commander Steve Wesolowski said. “(Homes for Good) took the ball from there and figured out how to get four tiny homes on there. We sold them the property in the condition the homes would be used for veterans.
“There’s a big need for veteran housing, especially lower-income veterans. We figured this was a way we could help the veterans … and give the veterans to have access to our facility.”
During the construction Homes for Good has set up its trailer on the post’s property, while Post 32 is providing electricity for the project until power poles are installed in the area. Architecture students from the University of Oregon’s OregonBILDS program have helped with both the design and construction.
The cost for the project is $550,000, of which most was provided through grants, donations and loans. The homes are expected to be completed in June. The property on which Legion Cottages are being built will include shared parking, a common open space, and supportive services and case management through local partnerships.
Legion Cottages will be located across the street from Riverview Terrace, a large public housing affordable community managed by Homes for Good. The on-site manager and maintenance team will manage the new homes, and the veterans living in the tiny homes will have access to the Riverview Terrace’s laundry facilities, senior meals, game nights and potlucks.
And Post 32 also will be there for the veterans wanting to spend time with those who have shared the same experiences as members of the U.S. military, as well as those wanting help with potential Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. The post has a VA rep come to the post monthly to assist with claims.
“We’re hoping this gives (the Legion Cottages residents) a chance to better their lives and get stuff taken care of they don’t have access to right now or only have limited access to,” Wesolowski said. “It’s another chance to help these veterans.”