Quincy News

2x4's for Hope forms partnership with California nonprofit

Tri-State Veterans Community Project CEO Richard Elsenpeter, left, and 2x4's for Hope co-founder Chris Lawrence chat with Illinois Veterans Home Administrator Troy Culbertson, right, in Washington Park after a news conference where the Veterans Community Project announced plans to build a veterans village in Quincy. Through a partnership that 2x4's for Hope has made with Operation Tiny Home, Elsenpeter hopes to get ideas on building the local veterans village. | H-W File Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 2, 2017 9:45 pm Updated: Nov. 2, 2017 9:59 pm

QUINCY -- The Quincy-based nonprofit 2x4's for Hope has secured a partnership with California nonprofit Operation Tiny Home.

Mark and Chris Lawrence, founders of 2x4's for Hope, attended the 2017 Tiny House and Simple Living Jamboree last month in Arlington, Texas -- a gathering that saw 60,000 people visit the Arlington Convention Center over three days. They met K. Gabrielle Rapport, Operation Tiny Home chairman and executive director.

The Lawrences set up a tent at the jamboree and allowed donors to sign their two-by-fours for a $3 donation. They went through more 500 two-by-fours at the event.

"We took a bunk of (294) two-by-fours with us," Chris Lawrence said. "When we were down there, Mark said he didn't want to take any two-by-fours back home with us."

The organization donated the two-by-fours to the North Texas Capacity Builders and Farmers Assisting Returning Military, both of which are constructing tiny home villages for veterans.

Lawrence said Operation Tiny Home plans to build one tiny home a month for veterans across the country, and 2x4's for Hope will hold signing events in each community before construction begins.

"It will be huge," Lawrence said of the partnership. "The possibilities are endless."

Operation Tiny Home is scheduled to visit the Tri-State Veterans Community Project's Veterans Village in Quincy in autumn 2018. Operation Tiny Home hosts workshops that teach local veterans building skills while constructing a home.

The Lawrences invited Richard Elsenpeter, president of the Tri-State Veterans Community Project, to attend the jamboree in hopes of finding ideas to bring back to Quincy. The 2x4's for Hope organization supports but remains independent of the Veterans Community Project, which is in the beginning stages of building a tiny home village to house homeless veterans.

"I wanted to see the layouts, the floor plans, how they incorporated storage space and bunking areas," Elsenpeter said.

Elsenpeter said he also focused on exterior options for tiny homes and hopes to incorporate porches in them.?The project board is looking for a property in Quincy for its prospective village. To finance the work, Elsenpeter said, the board is seeking a corporate sponsor and considering jump-starting a capital campaign. The board hopes to begin work on the village in the spring.

Once the project has selected a property, and depending on its available utilities, Elsenpeter said his group will be working with the Quincy City Council to get approval to build the infrastructure, community center and homes on the site.

"This is a great opportunity for our community to come together," Lawrence said. "It will be a community project. It's a team effort."

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