SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A group of local women are working together to keep homeless veterans safe and offer affordable housing.

The "Western Mass. Tiny Home Initiative" is fundraising to build a community right in Springfield - following the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home - the women are also looking for a special way to honor those who died at the facility through their project.

"It’s fairly new to the community, but to me, I've been planning it for the last two years," said president and the CEO of Western Mass. Tiny Home Initiative Christy Torres.

In the last 7 months, Torres has been spreading awareness about her years-long vision to change this plot of land on Ashmun Street - into a haven.

"This particular micro cottage community is going to be geared toward homeless veterans. We want to build eight tiny homes on the lot and then more to come throughout western Mass," Torres explained.

Starting in Springfield, Torres’ "Western Mass. Tiny Home Initiative" is fundraising to help those who fought for our country and now have no safe place to live.

She told Western Mass News the first step is fundraising $5,000.

"That particular cost is to put down, like a down payment. So to buy the land it’s $160,000, and that’s the goal," Torres said.

Organizers told us that when the first eight homes are built on this land, they'd like to dedicate the community and build a memorial for those who passed away at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home

"The way that we’ve been reflecting on that particular situation and what’s been going on, you know, they had to pass away on their own and it just breaks my heart. S I feel like this is something that can give back," Torres explained.

But fundraising during a pandemic has it’s challenging, and the group has worked to make sure their efforts are safe.

On June 12, the organization is hosting a virtual cocktail party fundraiser with live DJs and a comedian.

"It’s going to be virtual zoom, via zoom and we're welcoming anybody to come by from anywhere they are, and tap in and have fun to their favorite drink, listen to music and some good jokes," said Western Mass. Tiny Home Initiative event and fundraising organizer Felicia Harvey.

The organizers told Western Mass News from the comfort of your home, you can buy a ticket and help provide a home for a veteran in need

"We want to fill the site with homes for the homeless vets. We wanna do our best for them," said Western Mass. Tiny Home Initiative event and fundraising organizer Lisa Thompson Howard.

"There’s a stigma and people tend to think ‘Oh goodness homeless or homelessness,’ but for us, we’re trying to set them up for success," Torres said.

If you would like to help with the Western Mass Tiny Home Initiative, check out the Virtual Cocktail Party happening on June 12th, starting at 6:30 PM.

CLICK HERE, FOR MORE INFORMATION

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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