Know your nonprofit: Operation Tiny Home focuses on helping struggling veterans | TheUnion.com

Know your nonprofit: Operation Tiny Home focuses on helping struggling veterans

Submitted to The Union

Know Your Nonprofit is a weekly Q&A feature with western Nevada County nonprofit organizations.

What is your mission statement?

Operation Tiny Home assists people struggling with severe housing instability to maintain a life of dignity through custom high-quality tiny housing solutions and empowerment training programs.

Briefly, when and how did your nonprofit start?

Gabrielle Rapport, a Nevada County resident, is the Founder and Executive Director of Operation Tiny Home.

Operation Tiny Home was originally launched in February 2014 to support Mike, a disabled veteran and family friend. Mike was living a quiet and remote lifestyle outside Spokane, Wash., and when our family learned about his dire and quickly declining living conditions, we committed to doing what we could to assist him.

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Mike's longtime dream was to be able to build his own tiny house on wheels as an affordable housing solution that would give him the stability and mobility he needed. We launched a crowdfunding campaign that really took off with the support of the community. We raised over $16,000 and received donations from the Home Depot Foundation and local businesses. We were amazed at the level of generosity that came from the community to make Mike's dream a reality.

It wasn't long after our story got out that other veterans and their families began to contact us with their dreams of going tiny. Tiny home living isn't for everyone, but for those who find this unique minimalistic lifestyle appealing, it provides a secure and inexpensive housing solution and offers a great sense of freedom. It enables them to take control of their circumstances and take action on what is important to them. This is what a life of dignity is all about and something we believe everyone deserves, especially our wounded veterans. This is why we continue to dedicate ourselves to the Operation Tiny Home mission.

What are the primary sources of funding?

Individual donations, major gifts, corporate contributions and foundation grants.

How many employees does the organization have?

We recently transitioned from being a 100 percent volunteer-run organization to now employing one part-time person. Our goal is to secure enough funding this year to develop our operational team to further support program growth.

Who is your primary audience, the people who benefit the most from your organization?

People struggling with severe housing instability that find the tiny house lifestyle appealing; we are currently focusing on supporting low-income and combat wounded veterans.

What is your primary service area (specific city, countywide, the region?)

We are a national organization, but would love to provide services to Nevada County veterans.  

List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit's history (up to three).

Our Building a Better Future Program launched in July and has provided hands-on carpentry and building construction training to over 125 veterans across three workshops. Our Tiny Home Building Workshops are free for veterans and focus on creating new employment opportunities and empowering participants with the confidence and know-how to build a tiny home of their own. Participants learn while constructing a new home that is donated to a local combat wounded veteran in need.

We have provided custom, high-quality tiny homes to five disabled veterans that no longer struggle with housing instability in Spokane, Wash., Kansas City, Missouri, Big Spring, Texas, Racine, Wisc., and Orlando, Florida.

Bringing on Tiny House Specialist, Zack Giffin, co-host of the popular reality TV show 'Tiny House Nation' as a member of our board of directors and as the team lead for our tiny home building workshops.

What is your primary goal for the next year?

Expand our Building A Better Future Program through strategic partnerships.

Building a solid source of funding to support programs and services growth.

Planning and execution of our Program Public Awareness and Advocacy Initiative.

How can someone become involved with your organization?

Call us at 650-282-3588, send an email to info@operationtinyhome.org or make a contribution through our website: http://www.operationtinyhome.org. You can also: become a building partner and/or host a tiny home building workshop; donate building materials and /or supplies; volunteer to support fundraising efforts; join our executive leadership team and/or a board committee.

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/operationtinyhome.

Source: Operation Tiny Home

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