Company Builds Tiny Houses For Homeless Vets
When they saw how vets were falling through the cracks when they couldn't get treatment, they knew they had to do something big.
On any given night in 2018, more than 37,000 veterans were homeless, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Veterans Community Project , a Missouri-based non-profit, is doing their part to get that number way down. They built a village of tiny houses for homeless vets and now provide services to help treat PTSD. VCP was founded by a group of three combat veterans in Kansas City who wanted to help stop the unstable housing conditions and frustrating maze of administration that vets have to deal with to get help.
According to the company's website, VCP provides veterans with everything he or she needs to live with dignity and safety,including new furniture, appliances, linens , food and utilities. The houses range in size from 240 to 320 square feet and are specifically designed to make residents feel safe and secure. There are only a few windows in the front of the house, and the properties are small enough so that residents can quickly due a perimeter check if they're feeling uneasy.
The units are meant to be transitional homes, where veterans can have a safe and comfortable space while they rebuild their lives.Typically, the average stay at the village is between 10 and 14 months. To date, no one has stayed more than 24 months.
Last fall, former Army Intelligence Officer Jason Kander toured the Veteran's Community Project.
"I was amazed by it," he told People Magazine .
Kander (pictured below, right) made national news last fall when he stopped his mayoral campaign in Kansas City to seek treatment for PTSD. After he left the world of politics, he came to VCP for help.
"There were more obstacles to doing that quickly than I had expected. The process can be a little onerous," Kander said. I ended up being like any of the other 6,000 veterans in Kansas City that this place has helped.
Now Kander works closely with the non-profit and is leading the effort to expand the same services to eight more locations in the country by 2022.
"Veterans' homelessness is a national crisis, so I'm proud to join an organization that has created a model to end it," Kander said in a press release. "By expanding nationally, our goal is for VCP to both end veterans' homelessness and help millions of other veterans get the services they've earned."
While VCP partners with local businesses for some resources and services, the organization is run 100% on donations. One volunteer, 56-year-old Joan Slawson, is now an important member of the team. Her husband was a Vietnam veteran, and her daughter is a medically retired Army Vet.
"People need to realize that we are so much more than the 49 houses down the street. They're giving dignity back to a lot of people who had lost hope." - Joan Slawson
There are a number of ways you can help out the Veterans Community Project:
- Make a donation on their website
- Become a volunteer
- Donate food and hygiene items
- Host an event
- Plan a service project
You can keep up with the latest news from the Veterans Community Project by following them on Facebook.
(Source: images & video Veterans Community Project Facebook )