A specialized tiny home community is under development in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that will change the lives of homeless veterans, and GAF Community Contractor Unlimited Enterprises is front and center, installing roofs on these much-needed homes.
Doug Tinklenberg, president and owner of Unlimited Enterprises, has grown up in roofing and is a strong believer in supporting his local community. He describes his company as a small, regional construction company with a primary emphasis on residential roofing.
"My father was a contractor and then started his lumberyard," explains Tinklenberg. "I grew up in the trade, started roofing part-time almost 30 years ago and then about 20 years ago went full time, just with the goal to support the family and have a business to grow and give me the opportunity to be self-employed."
Being self-employed was always one of the driving factors for Tinklenberg and his focus has been rewarding. "It's been a very good gig, and it's growing, too," he says. "We have two or three crews going every summer, sometimes four, but I just kind of want to stay that size."
Giving Back to the Community
Unlimited Enterprises does no advertising, has no website, and secures all jobs from word-of-mouth referrals. Tinklenberg credits his giving back to his local community for a lot of the work that he receives. "In our area we've got a good local Habitat for Humanity chapter, and probably 10 or 15 years ago, Ole Olson, a GAF territory manager, said 'Hey, you should get involved with this. You should be doing some of these roofs for Habitat.' It's worked out really, really well," Tinklenberg says. "We'll do four to six roofs a year."
When Tinklenberg found out about this new tiny home community coming to Sioux Falls, he knew he wanted to be involved. "When I saw the Veterans Community Project, with the effective community of support that they've built, I knew it would be great," he explains. "It's going to offer these guys that live there some protection, some guidance, and yet give them the freedom they need to still enjoy life."
Veterans Community Project (VCP) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in Kansas City by combat veterans who wanted to ensure fellow veterans would have access to critical support services.
Working with GAF, they were able to secure all the roofing materials at no cost to VCP. Additionally, Tinklenberg is donating the labor for the installation. "I didn't serve in the military, but it's my opportunity to serve, in a sense," notes Tinklenberg. "We have to help those that serve so that they're protected when they get home."
The houses are provided at no cost to the veterans and come with everything they need to live with dignity while receiving support and care from the VCP team. The team works with the residents to address the root causes behind their homelessness. These services are provided onsite with the end goal of helping the veterans transition back into independent and stable lives.
Building Resiliency and Community Relationships
Tinklenberg says that the more he gives back to the community through initiatives like Habitat for Humanity and the VCP project, the more his business thrives. "Every time we've given away a roof, the business just continues to grow," he explains. "I don't do it from a marketing standpoint. I really don't promote it. It's just more about doing the right thing."
Additionally, Tinklenberg emphasizes that it's easy to give back. "It's real easy to donate at that level, even as a small business, and it doesn't affect our bottom line," he notes.
It's a good thing for the community as well. "Sioux Falls as a whole benefits from it, too, because these veterans are able to be part of the community and this program improves their ability to function within the bigger community," Tinklenberg says.
The GAF Community Matters program is committed to building sustainable communities by focusing on the basic needs of shelter, families, and workforces. The VCP tiny home community in Sioux Falls aligns perfectly with the company's commitment to building resilient communities. GAF couldn't complete these initiatives without the help of its nationwide network of professional contractors who partner with the company to make a difference, just like Unlimited Enterprises did.
If you would like to be involved in giving back to your local community, visit the GAF Community Matters page to learn more about the opportunities.