Homelessness and housing insecurity continues to impact the lives of our nation’s Veterans. Government programs and organizations have stepped up to address this challenge, but those attempts have been a temporary fix for a longer-term issue.
A Different Approach to Combating the Problem
Contained Solutions addresses the Veteran housing crisis with a new approach that builds community, offers therapeutic activities, creates jobs and is environmentally sustainable. Our living model takes advantage of fourplex housing, which is the greatest unit size allowed by the VA for Veterans, using energy-efficient and sustainable building techniques. We recognize Veterans have face unique challenges, with lasting effects and find an uncommon camaraderie with their fellow service members and to this end, will incorporate a community center in the communities we construct.
We believe Veterans deserve not just a place to live, but also a place to thrive.
As we all are slogging through the COVID pandemic, the housing needs of Veterans have not abated. As government support, rent eviction moratoriums and other services come to an end, the need is even more acute, and innovative approaches become ever more necessary.
About Our Founder
Founder Shawn Towle, a Coast Guard Veteran, is an entrepreneur and publisher of Minnesota’s first digital political magazine. Due to the financial risks of entrepreneurship, he found himself in need of housing assistance. In the process of seeking help to meet his own needs, he found Veteran’s housing programs unnecessarily difficult to navigate and full of barriers, especially to entrepreneurs. Its clear the simple solution often stated is, just get a job, which is by no means an adequate response.
As an Honorably Discharged Veteran, he received a Certificate of Eligibility for a Veteran’s Administration Home Loan Mortgage Guarantee after completion of service. To pursue home ownership, however, the need of a worthy credit score and steady income is also necessary to employ the certificate earned.
This experience, alongside his expertise of the resources offered by our nation and state’s political systems, inspired him to devise a housing model to help Veterans earn an income, improve their credit score and eventually obtain their own VA Home Loan. Thus offering the freedom and liberty of the American Dream they fought for themselves and all others to obtain.
The Road Far Less Traveled
The Contained Solutions model is equipped with what Veterans in need are looking for: options. For entrepreneurs, we will offer an opportunity for a Veteran to become the landlord of a fourplex and prior a residence where they can build their own enterprises. Those wishing to pursue this option will be afforded the support needed to acquire a property and gain licensure. This includes a Landlord 101 course, budgeting skill development and property management instruction. The Veteran will be able to owner occupy one unit while renting the other three units to generate income to pay for the property mortgage. Our community centers will be tailored with resources for the individuals to chart their own courses, but collectively be able to tell their own stories through traditional and social media vehicles.
For Veterans seeking housing, we will offer an opportunity to live in the fourplex. The features of the building design include handicap accessibility, gathering space to build community, and high efficiency HVAC systems powered by solar panel installation to reduce the energy burden of residents. Our open floor plan provides opportunity for the living spaces to be personally adapted to meet the individual needs; be it an office or storage space or an extra room for an AirBnB. The design also reduces the boxy feel and possible claustrophobia, while also providing an indoor area for horticulture, a constant green space and a known therapeutic for PTSD, and the added benefit, the production of fresh fruits and vegetables to provide healthy resources and promote wellness.
What Success Looks Like
The construction and completion of our first fourplex will provide an opportunity to test the model prior to replication. Veteran entrepreneurs will be able to forego government subsidies to become a property owner and taxpayer. Tenants will be housed through Veterans Preference and prime candidates’ ownership of the next constructions. Veterans can opt-in to learning the skills associated new development techniques while Veterans are building for other Veterans. Our system is effectively self-perpetuating and is accomplished through existing financial mechanisms. Contained Solutions will remain conscious of legislative advancements at both the federal and state levels and the implementation at the county and city municipal levels of government.
Once we accomplish our first build, we will be able to finance many more units and move toward our goal of ending the Veterans housing crisis.
Join us in making this a reality.