Posted on: September 23, 2020 at 10:21 pm

In a country that appears to take so much pride in their war veterans, a shocking number of those men and women find themselves homeless when their service is done. This non-profit organization has built a village of tiny homes for homeless veterans to help them get back on their feet.

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Tiny Homes for the Homeless Veterans

According to the Department of Housing and Human Development, there are more than 37,000 homeless American veterans in the country (1). The Veteran’s Community Project (VCP) in Kansas City, Missouri has set out to ensure that “homeless veteran” becomes a thing of the past. (1)

The VCP has built a village of tiny homes for the homeless veterans in their community. These homes are transitional homes paired with a community center to help these war heroes get back on their feet again. (1)

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“I think veteran homelessness has always been viewed as a federal issue or a VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] issue, that it’s not something a local community can take on and address,” said Byran Meyer, CEO and co-founder of the VCP. “These veterans are sleeping in city parks and streets. They’re our neighbors and brothers and sisters of our community. We can do something without waiting for somebody else to come in and fix this.” (1)

Meyer is a US Marine veteran and was deployed twice in Iraq. He co-founded the VCP in 2016 with fellow veterans Mark Solomon, Brandon Mixon, and Vincent Morales. (1)

Protecting Those Who Protected the Country

The four men went out into their community and spoke with the homeless veterans in Kansas City to find their reasons for living on the street instead of at a shelter or other transitional living facility. (1) They found that many veterans felt these places were lacking in (1):

  • Privacy
  • A sense of security
  • The ability to rebuild at their own pace

From there they set out to build a village of transitional homes that provided these men and women with everything they felt their other options lacked. (1)

The First VCP Village

Completed in 2019, the first VCP village in KC is five acres of land with 49 tiny homes on it. The homes range in size from 240 to 320 square feet and somewhat resemble the military barracks the veterans are used to living in. VCP purchased that land for just $500. (1)

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“There’s this huge sense of belonging because you have a population of people that all have a shared experience in terms of military service, and it gives them this instantaneous bond,” Meyer said. “You see them really develop and make friendships and hang out with each other.” (1)

Included in the village is a 5,000 square foot community center to help each veteran get back on their feet. (1) Services include (1):

  • Mentoring
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Medical facility
  • Dental facility
  • Veterinary clinic
  • Training and commercial kitchen

The VCP also has an outreach center that provides walk-in support for other local veterans. (1)

Since the village opened, they have helped veterans young and old – from 24 years old to 84 years old. Currently, the typical length of stay is less than one year, at around 275 days. (1)

Read: Finland Ends Homelessness and Provides Shelter For All in Need.

Funded By Donations

Donations form 100% of the VCP’s funding. Without local community partnerships and the help of volunteers, they would not be able to function. (1)

“We have more volunteers sometimes than I even know how to keep engaged, because everybody wants to help,” Meyer said. “The volunteer labor isn’t just about cutting costs. It’s also about the community feeling like they own the projects too.” (1)

Seeing how successful the KC village has been, hundreds of cities across America have contacted VCP who want to build a village in their community. They are expanding and are building their next village in Longmont, Colorodo. (1) From there they plan to build villages in (1):

  • Cincinnati, St. Louis
  • Orlando, Florida

Meyer makes it clear that they are not coming in to compete with the VA or anyone else. They want to establish relationships with the VA in each city and fill in the gaps so that veterans are getting the help that they need. (1)

A Success Story

Veteran Kyle Prellberg, a former military sniper, suffered a severe leg injury when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his truck while on duty in Afghanistan. Since then, he has dealt with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. (1)

Couch surfing since he was relieved from duty, he received the purple heart award in 2019. It was at a dinner with other wounded veterans where Prellberg heard about the VCP. (1)

Since moving to the VCP community, he has become a leader there, helping other veterans when they first move in. Kyle says that simply having a space to call his own was a huge boost. (1)

“I went from a place where I was couch surfing,” he said. “And to have a place that’s your own is just enormously helpful.” (1)

How You Can Help

If you don’t have a VCP village to volunteer in, you can donate to the organization. Check out the “Get Involved” section on their website for more ways that you can help this organization succeed.

Keep Reading: First Tiny Home Community for the Homeless Opens In San Jose, California

https://www.foxnews.com/us/tiny-houses-kansas-city-give-veterans-place-to-call-home
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Julie Hambleton
Team Writer
Julie Hambleton is a fitness and nutrition expert and co-founder of The Taste Archives along with her twin sister Brittany Hambleton.

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