Gary Roehrig, Moraine Park Technical College’s ABC Carpentry Apprentice Instructor, works with his students to create housing for homeless veterans.

A partnership between Moraine Park Technical College and the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin is providing new safe housing for homeless veterans.

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Carpentry Apprentice classes at Moraine Park’s West Bend Campus are collaborating with the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin to construct two “’Little Houses” for the James A. Peterson Veterans Village in Racine, Wis.

The two houses will be part of a 14-house complex to be developed in Racine. Each of the units will provide safe housing for homeless veterans while they receive in-house assistance and counseling to begin the process of re-introduction to mainstream society. The assistance will include mental health counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) counseling, work search, veteran’s benefits search, financial advice and housing placement.

The program provides a two-year program for the homeless veteran to recover from their state of homelessness.

The Village is centered around a community center, which will include a fully equipped kitchen, bath and shower areas, large meeting room, individual meeting rooms, a food pantry and clothing pantry.

The “Little Houses” are 8’ x 16’ which will include living space and a sleep area.  The units will include a microwave and a mini-fridge.

The Carpentry Apprentice classes, under the direction of Gary Roehrig, ABC Carpentry Apprentice Instructor, will panelize the structures (build them in sections) at the West Bend campus’ Building Trades facility. After the units have been constructed, the individual assemblies, floor, wall and roof, will be taken apart and shipped to Racine. At the Racine site they will be re-assembled for final finishing by volunteers prior to use by the Veterans Outreach organization.

Two area building supply companies – Drexel Building Supply in Kiel, along with site manager Steve Theilman; and Zuern Building Products of Allenton Building Supply – generously donated materials and offered assistance to make this project possible.

The ABC Carpentry Apprentice program at Moraine Park’s West Bend campus is a national certified four-year apprentice program that culminates with an apprentice graduating to their carpentry journeyman’s card. The apprentice trainees receive their classroom instruction in a block program in which they attend classes in West Bend for four weeks; one week in December, January, February and March. The rest of the year they are accumulating on the job training from their employers.

Further information on the Veterans Outreach program can be found on the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin website; www.vetsoutreachwi.us. Further information on the ABC Carpentry Apprentice program can be obtained on the Associated Builders and Contractors website; www.abcwi.org.

For more information on Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu.