MACV expanding housing to help unsheltered veterans while teaching Veterans a new trade
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is working hard to expand its footprint by reconstructing buildings to house unsheltered veterans. One of these place is the Arlington House in St. Paul.
Construction is underway and working on this future home for veterans are veterans who believe the work they are doing is life saving.
The renovation of a future MACV home is underway. Interior work on these two structures on Larpenteur Avenue in St. Paul is being done by apprentices from Carpenters Union Local 322. Some are veterans and part of the Helmets to Hardhats program.
“It brings veterans that are in the military or just getting out of the military directly into a trade,” said Sam Heimlich with North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters.
Helmets to Hardhats teaches military members to continue to serve, in the trades.
or those who did serve in the military working on this project is more than satisfying. “If I’m ever in the area I can drive by and say oh I helped build this building,” said Ryan Elkins a U.S. Navy Veteran and carpenter apprentice. “Or I help finish this one up for the veterans to come live here and get back on their feet.”
Navy Veteran Ryan Elkins says helping reconstruct a place where Veterans will eventually call home is his way of helping end veteran homelessness in Minnesota. “As soon as they said this was a veteran project I was ready to jump at it. I wanted to do projects like this because it felt like I was actually giving back doing something constructive,” he said.
Several of MACV’s community partners are helping bring this home for Veterans on-line.
Air Force Veteran Jacob Bolinger manages this project. “Just being associated with MACV and being one of their signatory contractors being able to see this starting from just a vacant building looking at what we can do for the adaptive reuse of it and to make it into 10 single dwelling units,” said Jacob Bolinger, owner of Westedge Investments.
Out of the 10 single dwelling units, 5 will be accessible, making it easier for Veterans with mobility issues to live here.
“Across the parking lot we are building up a community center as well, well have computers and another little rec room pool talble kitchen laundry a little work out room and above that there will be a little three bedroom apartment hopefully a veteran family can move in as well,” said Bolinger.
MACV will also have offices here to assists Veterans with getting the resources they need to continue living independently.
Ryan believes the work he and his fellow apprentices are doing will save lives. “Off the streets inside you get shelter and heat a place to decompress,” said Elkins
For the Carpenter’s Union, Helmet to Hardhats gives them an opportunity to help Veterans as well as help fill the ranks of the trade. The union knows, training a former military member has its perks.
“Already highly skilled already motivated already use to taking orders and giving them so you get a carpenter who is out of the military who is defintely going to be a leader,” said Sam Heimlich.
The Arlington House should be complete by late spring — with hopes of getting veterans living there by early summer.
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