Helping homeless veterans in Mid-Michigan is the goal of a massive project in Tuscola County.
The city of Vassar donated a vacant home that will be transformed into a so-called "Veterans Village" providing much more than just shelter.
“It's going to be a great project. What you see now is a raggedy old lady. She's going to look like a queen when we're done,” said Cheryl Holland, the program coordinator.
Holland and her group from Habitat for Humanity in Lapeer and Tuscola County saw the diamond in the rough. Ordinarily they refurbish single family homes, but this one was just too big for her usual projects, so she called in help from the General Motors Cares Group.
"This is the biggest and the boldest. We're really stepping out of our traditional boundaries. We knew immediately…that's the house and that's where we started,” Holland said.
Project Brotherhood Resolve works out of Lapeer County to combat veteran homelessness. This house is step one in their goal to make a Veteran's Village.
"They need some place to turn to they've had no resources or anything in the past or a lot of them are afraid to ask and we need to get those resources out to them,” said Gary Overzet with Project Brotherhood.
To get started, work began on removing overgrown bushes and trees from the yard unveiling the treasure underneath.
The house doesn't look like much right now, with its chipped paint and things falling off, but soon with a little bit of work it will be home to eight veterans.
Veteran's Village will be more than just a shelter.
The vets will be expected to keep up with chores, a home garden, and complete rehabilitation programs to get them back on their feet.
But ultimately, it's a roof over their head and a place for support.
"We're hoping it looks like some place you'd want to come home to and to give them a home,” Overzet said.
Habitat for Humanity of Lapeer and Tuscola said work on the house won't be complete until next year, and the village itself could take several years.
In the meantime, they are always looking for volunteers.