Traverse City Veteran Aims to Build Affordable Housing - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Traverse City Veteran Aims to Build Affordable Housing

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A Traverse City man is taking on a big project -- hoping to create a unique living situation for veterans who decide to go back to school. He says affordable housing is hard to find, which doesn't make the transition to civilian life any easier.

Mike Griffith was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 2012. But once a marine, always a marine, and now--trying to pay it forward.

“I still have own demons to face being from 100+ guys in the barracks that you would live with,” he said. “Being isolated by yourself in your own home it becomes a prison of sorts.”

But Mike has a solution so other veterans are able to make the transition to civilian life more manageable than his own.

Tackling a long-standing problem in Traverse City by making affordable housing for student veterans.

“Separating from the Marine Corps was difficult in itself was difficult,” Mike said. “It had its own set of challenges and difficulties I had to overcome and just going to school on top of that or trying to find any gig for employment just made the problem that much harder.”

He plans to house 30-60 veterans.

Mike has had blueprints drawn up and spent about $10,000 of his own money to turn the dream into reality for a deserving group.

“A veteran is anybody who -- at any time in their life -- took oath to our nation and willing to write a blank check payable to the United States of America up to [and] including their life if need be,” said Scott Herzberg.

Scott is the point of contact for the Northwestern Michigan College Military and Veterans Service Office – having served in the Marines himself.

Mike considers him to be one of his mentors; Scott was the first person Mike told about his new idea.

The idea has also caught some traction with classmates at Northwestern Michigan College.

“Before I even finished the word affordable they were more than happy to, or more than eager to, hear about it,” Mike said.

But -- it's a lot of work.

“It’s a commercial project," Mike said. "It's not something one can take on their shoulders as much as I am trying."

So, he created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for this estimated $2 million project.

And hopefully he'll be able to get back the brotherhood he says he misses so much.

“The brotherhood -- I miss it myself, I miss it every day,” Mike said. “There's a connection you can build with each other that civilians -- through no fault of their own -- they just don't quite get it.”

To donate to the GoFundMe page click here. If you have an recommendations on property for the affordable housing, call Pat Dunlop from Real Estate One at 231-642-4466.