New organization hosts fundraiser for homeless veterans

The Northwoods Veterans Homestead in Rhinelander is a new non-profit organization formed to help Wisconsin’s homeless veterans’ population
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 4:55 PM CST
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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) - The Northwoods Veterans Homestead in Rhinelander may still be fresh, but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching their goal: Providing tiny homes for homeless veterans.

The Homestead held its first fundraiser today with games, raffles, and even a pig roast. The community responded with overwhelming support.

Vice President of Northwoods Veterans Homestead Carla Ruuskanen says, “This is our very first push towards our fundraising for the property. So, prior to this, it was more just getting organized, and then the donations that were coming in was to get that done.”

The organization has a five-year plan for raising funds, starting with acquiring land and infrastructure for the tiny homes. They are looking to assist on an urgent, evidence-based need.

“Last year alone in Oneida County alone, there were five homeless veterans, and that’s in a small community. So, if you can imagine bringing that out further and further, how many more there really are? So it’s really important that we cover this need,” said Ruuskanen.

Throughout the Homestead’s plan, their monetary goal is $100,000, and they’ve already received plenty of community support.

“The support has been amazing,” said Ruuskanen. “Even though we want to go outside of the community at some point, this community has been integral for us to be able to do what we are doing today. This is just a small portion of the people who have supported us thus far.”

Carla says that this goes far beyond just providing homes for the veterans, it’s about supporting their mental health as well.

“I’ve always been a part of trying to prevent suicide from veterans. When I was approached to do this position, it was just another way to do that. So to get somebody off the streets, give them hope again and get them back into the community is another way that we can help prevent suicide.”

If you wish to get involved with the organization, you can visit their website here.