Fundraiser to be held for tiny home project benefiting homeless veterans

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - There is a large number of people struggling who are living on the streets of Savannah.

The Savannah Homeless Authority reports that number is close to 4,000 - and even more striking - over 280 of those homeless people are veterans.

This weekend, veterans are being honored around the country, but there are tens of thousands of former service members who will spend this Veterans Day homeless, nationwide. While there are 286 homeless veterans who are accounted for today, the number continues to grow each year.

"They struggle with family and friends, and at some point, they just give up," said Cindy Kelly, Executive Director, Homeless Authority. "They can't get a job or lose a job and they don't have adequate income and they end up homeless."

Kelly says sometimes men and women who have served our country have challenges from their time in the military, ranging from PTSD, substance abuse, or mental illness.

"Once they get into the situation of being homeless, their ability to get into affordable housing is extremely limited," Kelly said. "The solution that we are looking at for the time being is the development of 72 tiny homes serving veterans. I think it's really important that we honor them, and I'm thrilled to be a part of that and I'm hoping this is a tiny solution to a big problem in our community."

However, there are solutions that the Homeless Authority and other veteran-owned and operated companies are coming up with. The Tiny House Project for Veterans and Nine Line Apparel are just to name a few.

"Our values and our mission is to be able to give back, and there is nothing that makes me more proud and helps me sleep at night than knowing every day when I come to work, we have the ability to hire veterans and give them a purpose," said Matt Lyda, President of Business Development, Nine Line.

Lyda says that when he got out of the military, his biggest fear was that he didn't know his purpose.

"We pay our veterans more than most other people, so that's what I love about this," he said. "Giving veterans a purpose and a reason to wake up tomorrow because we give them responsibility," he said.

Because of places like Nine Line Apparel, and resources the Homeless Authority gives, men and women who have served our country have a reason to live and keep serving our nation, even after the military.

"If it were not for them, we wouldn't be here today, so to our veterans, we want to say thank you and if you ever need anything from us, we are one phone call away."

The Tiny Homes Project is where 72 of those veterans will lay their heads and be able to continue to serve a purpose in our community.

Service Brewery is holding the "Victory Moto Show" on Saturday.

Thirty vintage motorcycles will be on display inside the veteran-owned brewery. The event will include live music and a silent auction from 6 to 10 p.m. It's $10 to get in.

All proceeds will benefit the Tiny House Project for homeless veterans.

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.