Tiny Housing For Veterans
For many veterans, sometimes all you need is a quiet place of solitude and reflection to get squared away. Whether it's reaching the peak of a mountain at the end of a hike, spending an afternoon fishing on a tranquil lake, or passing the time indoors with a few hot meals and a comfortable bed … sometimes you just need a little "you time."
There's a new volunteer initiative seeking to make that time easier to acquire for veterans who struggle with life after their military service concludes.
The Amazing Grace Community Church, led by Donnie Davis—a pastor who served in the Air Force and as a police officer—decided to purchase an abandoned 277-acre campground with a 65-acre lake, where they are currently constructing several micro-houses for veterans seeking a haven all to themselves.
Working with volunteers and local agencies to build the project, Operation Safe Haven's 300-square-foot micro-houses will be available to veterans for up to two years; outdoor sanctuaries for those struggling with mental trauma, like PTSD, who want to get "squared away" or simply have a roof over their heads.
While each house is designed to evoke a log cabin, rustic feel, they come completely stocked with new furniture, bedding, kitchen supplies, and more, at no charge to whoever occupies it. There's nothing used about the amenities in the house—no thrift store hand-me-downs. Everything is brand new and intended to make the veteran who lives there feel taken care of and respected, a goal Donnie set out to do from the start.
After taking notice of the alarming rate of suicide among American veterans, Donnie decided to do what he could to tackle the problem. Current federal and state systems do what they can do help veterans transition from military life to the civilian sector, but Donnie believed there was more to be done. He started a GoFundMe campaign to launch the project, and they're working hard to stretch every dollar as far as it can go, relying on a network of volunteers to construct the houses and the infrastructure. It's a true community effort to give back to the men and women who often sacrifice so much in service to their country.
"Never leave someone behind. That was our pledge in the military and as a police officer. When you retire or move on, that doesn’t go away," said Donnie. "We're fighting for those who fought for us."
USAF Veteran 1993 – 1997
Former Police Offer - Prince George's County MD
Founder and President
Amazing Grace / Operation Safe Haven
On October 13th, 2018 at 0900 hrs., a United States of America flag will be raised at the “Operation Safe Haven” facility located at 1664 Delsea Dr, Franklinville, NJ 08322. Operation Safe Haven was formally home of the Village Dock campground and is now being developed to house homeless disabled veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction related illnesses. Operation Safe Haven is led by Pastor Donnie Davis of Amazing Grace Ministries.
The flag will be raised on a recycled flagpole previous located at the original (now closed) New Jersey State Police Troop “A” Hammonton Headquarters which is located on US 30 in Mullica Twp. Atlantic Co., NJ. The Troop “A” facility was closed in 1996 after the new Troop “A” headquarters was built in Buena Vista Twp. This entire endeavor is the result of a Boy Scout Eagle Scout Service Project that was created by Douglas Sabol of the Daretown Troop 60 Boy Scouts located in Elmer, NJ. After learning about the Operation Safe Haven, Douglas believed the veterans deserved to have a flagpole at their facility honoring their service to our country. Douglas received permission from both the NJ Attorney General’s Office and the New Jersey State Police to remove the flagpole from its original location. With the help of fellow scouts and adult volunteers, the flagpole was relocated to the Operation Safe Have facility. The entire project spanned over a five-month period and was completed on September 18th, 2018.
Local sponsors who assisted Douglas with his project include:
• Joseph Fazzio, Inc., Glassboro, NJ
• Home Depot of Mantua, NJ
• Eric Krise Electrical Contractor, Elmer, NJ
• Steven Foster Trucking, Pilesgrove, NJ
I have been a resident of Franklinville since I was 4 years old. I am a Veteran of the USAF 1999-2007. I have always wanted to turn that campground into a retreat and if this project happens I would be ecstatic and be willing to be a part of your ministry. Thank you.
Along with other Franklin Township residents, I have been concerned about the fate of this fantastic property, which has been abandoned far too long. The idea that it will become a centerpiece for community life, without compromising its natural beauty, is wonderful. And the fact that Amazing Grace is such a caring, committed church is icing on the cake!
Your dream is amazing and coming true! I read that each person will have a service dog. This got me thinking about using any animal as companionship. I live in a border town in the California/Mexico desert. There are hundreds of homeless dogs and cats. The Humane Society of Imperial Valley often flies these animals to states that can find homes for them. They are up to date on all vaccines, vet checked and fixed. Do you think Safe Haven would be interested in adopting these abused or neglected animals? They sound like they qualify as having PTSD. Please consider it. I have no idea if I can even pull it off on my end, but needed to start somewhere. Thank you!
I am a wife of a USMC Veteran who committed suicide on March 5th 2017. The VA nor no one cares about us and that we have become homeless since and no where to go or live. Ot even get treatments, We are hurting too. Seeing your husband die, well with my medical issues. well if I die who would even care. Nothing is out there for us wives unless you know people from the higher up.. I've been homeless for 6 months now and not one single person cares or donates to help me get into a place. Because were not worth it.
I lost my USMC Veteran Hero to Suicide on March 5th right in front of me. You won't believe there are no resources for us widows except DIC and that is not enough to even pay My Rent I am about to get kicked out of the APT I had to move too while waiting for my other Benefits like SSD because I have Chronic PTSD, TBI, Anxiety, I've been trying to raise money to save me and my furry girls because I have no where to go. It was nice seeing this that your doing for Veterans but I also hope I can get the help I need before Monday of I am getting an unlawful detainer.
I love what you are doing but wonder if you could design a spreadsheet that would show how our donations are being spent and another one showing the timeline for the first phase completion. I am interested in donating again. Thanks so much for your positive impact on your community.
This is great news i have been working with homeless vets for over 8 years i have listen to many stories from every branch an all ages going back to Korean War.There are places that let vets stay for a short time till they find housing but some just can not fit in with every day life and can not live with civilians even for just a few short tours there whole lives have been transformed.I hear time and time agian i do not want any money i just want to find a place to live that is community based with my peers away from the city so that i can just clear my head for how ever long it takes and to be around others that feel the same way as i do with rules and regulations with PT and a scence of purpose.I dont just want to sit on a couch collect a check and live in some half way house in the inner city! I have veterans that would love to go stay there and they are hard working and would help you build this place into ausomness please message me back thankyou so much for your service and what you are doing.I am sorry that i can not donate to you i am running my own charity now and lol im struggling to find jobs to put weterans to work once again thankyou and all the people that doanted to great project i am realy moved from this cause that was created!