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Minnesota church to build tiny house settlement for homeless veterans

Minnesota church to build tiny house settlement for homeless veterans

The exterior of a tiny house prototype for a planned community for homeless veterans at the property of Faith Lutheran Church of Forest Lake, Minnesota. | Courtesy Faith Lutheran Church

A Minnesota congregation has approved the development of a tiny house community on their church's property to house homeless veterans.

Faith Lutheran Church of Forest Lake recently voted to approve the project, with the hope that the tiny house community, known as “Sacred Settlement,” will be completed by 2021.

Faith Lutheran Church Senior Pastor John Klawiter told The Christian Post that the concept of the Sacred Settlement “matches the values of our congregation in many ways.”

“We have a lot of members who have served or are actively in the military. We have a newly established veterans committee that will walk alongside any of the veterans that live in the Sacred Settlement,” Klawiter said.

“Faith Lutheran also has a long history of helping support homeless ministry, which includes the establishment of a family shelter in nearby Hugo.”

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A developmental team at the church will be working alongside an architect to determine the proper location on the church property for the community, Klawiter added.

The interior of a tiny house prototype for a planned community for homeless veterans at the property of Faith Lutheran Church of Forest Lake, Minnesota. | Courtesy Faith Lutheran Church

“This community will be well designed and intentional in how the houses are configured to be aesthetically pleasing and to provide a sense of community within our community,” he continued.

“A Sacred Settlement is not meant to be transitional housing, but a permanent community that brings community and belonging for the residents in a dignified and supportive place to call home.”

To achieve their goal, Faith Lutheran is working with a nonprofit organization called Settled, which works with churches to create tiny house communities for the homeless.

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According to their website, Settled works under a “community first” model to address homelessness, believing that simply building a house for someone homeless is not enough.

“[The housing first] approach falls short because the problem of homelessness is not a lack of housing and professional help alone, but just as critically, a lack of integration into a supportive and nurturing community,” they stated.

“A Community First approach is an alternative that focuses not only on providing shelter but on meeting relational and social needs in a holistic way.”

Klawiter told CP that he hoped congregations across the United States will “also hear the call to support the homeless communities and act upon the call to love thy neighbor as themselves.”

“I have been blessed to see my congregation respond to this calling to serve deeper in relationship and to grow in compassion,” Klawiter added.

“It’s a leap of faith to jump into this ministry, but we know that God’s continued presence is at the heart of this opportunity to alleviate the growing concerns of those experiencing chronic homelessness.”   

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