Community celebrates first tiny home for veterans with a signing event and groundbreaking

Send a link to a friend  Share

[April 26, 2021] 

This past Saturday, April 24th there was a great deal of activity going on around Lincoln including a special signing event and a ground breaking for the first of hopefully several tiny homes for homeless veterans.

The tiny homes are being constructed by 2-X-4’s for Hope, an organization out of Quincy whose goal is to provide housing for all veterans in need. The tiny homes are a “stick-built” from the ground up permanent structure. Having the homes offered in Lincoln did require a special zoning allowance by the city.

Locally, the campaign for tiny homes in Lincoln and Logan County is being driven by the Central Illinois Veteran’s Commission, a newly formed organization led by local Veteran Joe Schaler and Veteran Advocate Marcia Fernandes.


On Saturday morning tents were set up outside RP Lumber on Woodlawn Road, where the community was invited to stop by, write a message for the veteran home recipient on two-by-four lumber that will be used to construct the first tiny home. Throughout the morning a large number of people stopped by writing messages, signing their names, and making donations to the 2-X-4 for Hope’s first build in Lincoln.

Among the visitors to the tents was United States Congressman representing the Illinois District 18 Darin LaHood. LaHood was in Lincoln for the day, and had started out in the morning at the city wide clean-up event led by local resident Scott Turner. He then visited the tents at RP Lumber. After that, he led a meeting of his Veterans Advisory Committee in Lincoln, then attended the groundbreaking ceremonies for the first tiny home.

Fernandes noted that there had been a selection of 2-X-4’s taken to local schools where children decorated the boards and wrote messages to the veteran who will receive the home. She said there are plans this week to take the blank pieces of wood to other communities in the county for additional signing opportunities.

Fernandes also explained that once construction begins, the tiny home will be completed in eight days. The construction of the home includes the finished exterior and interior, furnishing, and even food in the fridge and cabinets. When the key is turned over to the new owner it will truly be a move-in-ready completed home.

According to Mark Lawrence of 2-X-4’s for Hope, there is a large demand for the homes that are being built for veterans. While the application process is still underway for the first home in Lincoln, there is already a number of applicants seeking to be the first recipient.

Just before noon on Saturday the tents at RP Lumber were taken down and moved to the site of the groundbreaking. They were reassembled and the pieces of lumber were set out for signing opportunities prior to the groundbreaking.

The first of the tiny homes in Lincoln will be located on a corner lot at the intersection of College Street and Sixth Street. It is reported that there is space on the lot for up to four such homes to be erected.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place at 1:30 p.m. with those manning shovels including (left to right) Dan Benedict with the Logan County Veterans Assistance Commission, Fernandes, Rachel Oney with the Lincoln Logan County Salvation Army; Haji Patel who has donated the land for the build, LaHood, city of Lincoln Treasurer Chuck Conzo, Mayor Tracey Welch, Schaler, Mark Lawrence and his wife Chris.

[to top of second column]

Lawrence was the first to speak during the groundbreaking. He thanked all who were in attendance. He noted that the day had included some very good discussions at LaHood’s late morning meeting. He said that there are a lot of issues involving veterans, and he was happy to report that those issues are being addressed, and he is optimistic that good things are yet to come.

Lawrence acknowledged Schaler, who has been working to bring the building project to the community. He noted that soil had already been turned for the building project. He said that some overgrowth and tree removal on the lot had begun prior to the groundbreaking.

LaHood thanked the Lawrences and 2-X-4 for Hope for recognizing and addressing a veteran need not just in Logan County but throughout the area.

He also asked that all the veterans be recognized with a round of applause. He noted that he has raised his children to understand and appreciate the sacrifices of our veterans who have given so much to assure the freedoms of his children are not compromised. LaHood noted that the construction of the home symbolizes a community able and willing to give back to the veterans who have sacrificed much for those same freedoms.

LaHood also noted the presence of other state representatives including Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Terry Prince and State Representative Tim Butler. Illinois Senator Sally Turner was also present and recognized later.

LaHood concluded saying, “We can never do enough for our veterans, and giving back to them, that is what this day is all about, so full speed ahead.”

Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch also addressed the group. Welch noted that as a veteran himself, he embraced this project full on. He said that he respected and appreciated what the Lawrences’ are doing, building homes for veterans throughout the region. All veterans, Welch noted, “go out there and defend our freedom, and it is our responsibility when they come home, to make sure that we do what is right for them. This is an example of that, and we need to continue doing that.”

Schaler spoke last thanking all those who had come. He noted that getting this project to come together had been a long time coming. He thanked the 2-X-4’s for Hope and the city of Lincoln for helping to make the project possible.

The long line of people bearing shovels were then invited to dig in and bring up a scoop of soil.

The offices of the Central Illinois Veterans Commission (CIVC) are located at 120 South McLean Street in Lincoln (The Farm Bureau building), across the hall from the office of Senator Sally Turner.

This evening, Monday, April 26 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. there will be an open house at Senator Turner’s office. The CIVC offices will also be open and anyone who is interested in learning more about the CIVC or supporting the tiny home project is encouraged to stop in and speak with Schaler or Fernandes.

The CIVC also has a website with a good deal of information about the commission as well as opportunities to donate to future tiny home builds online. Applications are also being taken for tiny home recipients.

[Nila Smith]

Back to top