DANVILLE, N.H. — Veterans searching to find affordable housing have a new option: the Rock Rimmon Cooperative.
Ten one-bedroom homes are available at the resident-owned, former campground as part of the Veterans First project, spearheaded by the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. The 500-square-foot, manufactured houses cost $49,500.
"We were called to action when we heard veterans had no place to live," said Jennifer Hopkins, the Community Loan Fund's director of single family houses.
She and others involved in the project, along with local leaders like Congressman Chris Pappas, attended a ribbon cutting for the project on Thursday.
The idea for the project grew from conversations between Harbor Homes, a transitional housing program for veterans in Nashua and Merrimack, and the Community Loan Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance for those with low or moderate incomes in need of affordable housing. Rock Rimmon residents, interested in filling 12 vacant spots, welcomed the idea.
"We're talking about individuals who put everything on the line for our country," said Congressman Chris Pappas, one of the dignitaries on hand for the official ribbon cutting of the first two homes, calling the situation "an incredible win-win."
Currently, three homes are occupied, three are in the process of being sold to veterans and four are still available.
Vietnam veteran Peter Searching Owl Giove of 58 Annaloro Drive opened his doors to visitors during the event.
The 70-year-old who served his country in the Army lost everything — 55 years worth of possessions, as well as two dogs and cat — to a fire at his last home. He's excited by this new opportunity. He was living in temporary housing through Harbor Homes when he was contacted about his current residence.
"I happened to be there at the time, and it was perfect," he said. "I don't have to worry about anything. I can come and go and still have my home."
Similarly, former Marine Lora Gervais will move into her home at 13 Nicholas Circle soon, and said she is more than prepared.
"I can't wait, I'm ecstatic," Gervais said. "I'm ready, I'm so ready."
Gervais has been living with her father for the last five years in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. She was originally looking at a place at Camp Sergeant, another resident-owned community in Merrimack, but she was only able to get a Veterans Administration loan for $100,000, forcing her to compete with contractors and builders.
Once she was qualified for one of the homes in Rock Rimmon, she took one look at 13 Nicholas Circle and decided it was meant to be hers. The fact that her lucky number is 13 and the home boasted a garden with a wagon wheel — the logo for her biker group the Legion Riders — sealed the deal.
"I've been up to visit every weekend since," she said.
Pappas noted the housing crunch in New Hampshire, citing it as a reason many veterans can't find affordable options to live in. He said it's important to make sure veterans especially have a roof over their head.