Building a Home and Hope for Veterans

Story and Layout by Lynn McDonald

Tiny homes seem to be growing in popularity, and one non-profitPicture of an American Flag. organization from Quincy, Ill. has taken the idea and run with it.  Founded by Mark and Chris Lawrence in 2015, 2X4’s for Hope utilizes donations and volunteer resources to construct tiny homes for at-risk veterans. Their mission, according to their mission statement, is “to help those who are in need by working together to make a difference.”

Before each build, volunteers and community members come together to sign and decorate donated boards. The concrete pad and sidewalk are poured, and the lot is set up to receive utilities. Once everything is in place, the volunteers descend to begin the construction, which moves rather quickly.

According to their website,, one build takes over 100 volunteers and 8 days. Each house measures at least 14’x30’ and is ADA friendly. The veteran is not only treated to a new home, but everything that is needed to survive. The following is an excerpt from a press release for the Madison, Ill. build.

“These tiny homes are all but tiny. At 576 square feet they stand tall, strong and efficient. Many of our veterans have lost everything in the course of their life; so successful deployment into these tiny homes begins with the support of our community. Each home is completely finished inside and out, decorated, furnished, bedding and linens, pots and pans and even food in the fridge and cabinets. In other words, with a key in the door, they are move-in ready for our veterans.”

In an interview with WGEM last year, Mark Lawrence said, “The worst thing we could do is to take a tiny home like this, put it in the hands of our veteran, shake their hands and say, ‘have a great life.’ We have to be able to partner with dozens of other veteran organizations, to be able to provide them with the services that they’re entitled to.”

Patrick McDonald is a new volunteer who is scheduled to help with the Madison location at the end of May.  A veteran himself, he is happy to lend a hand. “I think it’s a great way to honor our veterans who have served our country but are currently facing challenges,” McDonald said.

Filling out a form with a 500-word essay is all the nomination process requires.  To qualify, the veteran must not own a home, must have a form of income and must have the desire to build a better life.  Forms are available online and at various community events.

Donations are accepted through Paypal and Venmo.  Visit for more information.

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