FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Troop Town Villages wants to build 50 tiny homes in Fort Wayne to house homeless veterans. The group’s Facebook page says the idea came from a tiny village built in Kansas City. Now the founder stepped away from the group leaving others desperately searching for a new director for it to survive.
“All the text messages I have and Facebook messages [from Matt Maple] say ‘Jim you’re the guy, you need to do this, I knew it from the day I met you,'” Jim Garigen said. “But I got to tell you I’m not the guy.”
Jim Garigen first met Matt Maple when he heard about Maple’s project, Troop Town Villages. Garigen has experience working to find solutions for homeless veterans and liked Maple’s idea, but never became associated with TTV. In mid-July someone asked Garigen to talk to Maple about the future of the project.
“I was just trying to advise him and make that transition because [Maple] said he’s not the guy, he needed to step down and he asked my advice,” Garigen said.
Instead, Garigen said Maple has cancelled two meetings to talk about transferring the organization’s records so another director can come in and continue the work. Garigen doesn’t want to be that director, and has called for help on Facebook.
“This isn’t about improprieties or anything along those lines,” Garigen said. “It’s just about accountability and where does this go forward.”
We tried calling Maple several times, but no one answered and no one returned our messages. Garigen said TTV never became a 501 (c)(3) non profit, or a tax exempt organization, due to some legal mistakes filing papers. He believes there hasn’t been any misuse of the funds.
“There’s a lot of folks who donated.,” Garigen said. “A lot of folks who want to see their dollars go to work as they intended, and we just need to get the message to them that somebody is going to see this move forward, and if not treat it like a 501 (c)(3) that’s dissolved and those funds will go to another 501 (c)(3) that ideally has a correlating mission to help homeless veterans.”
Garigen hasn’t heard from Maple since Monday evening. He has not responded to several text messages Garigen sent since Maple cancelled his second meeting with Garigen. To learn more about becoming director of Troop Town Villages message the Troop Town Villages Facebook page.