Homes for Veterans
By Gene Groner, Marines
Writing Type: Prose
By Gene Allen Groner
There are more than 40,000 homeless veterans in the United States. A group of veterans in Kansas City, Mo., is doing something to change that. Let me tell you about the Veteran's Community Project and how it is making a difference.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, “The most effective programs are community-based, non-profit ‘veterans helping veterans’ groups. Programs that seem to work best feature transitional housing with the camaraderie of living in structured, substance-free environments with fellow veterans who are succeeding at bettering themselves.”
Founded in 2015 by three combat veterans, the Veteran’s Community Project is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to ending veteran homelessness. It provides for small, 280 square-foot houses that are similar to base housing and are built on a five-acre piece of land known as “the village.” There are about 50 houses in the village. They serve as homes for veterans with no place to live and provide housing that is better than a shelter or an apartment, especially for veterans with anxiety or PTSD.
All of the homes are fitted with new furniture, kitchen utensils, and a fully stocked refrigerator. Veterans normally stay about 12-24 months in the homes, and when they move out they can take the items from the house, including appliances, if needed. The houses serve as important transitional homes and help set up the veterans for success in the community when they leave the village.
The non-profit partners with the local community to help provide free dental care and other professional services. In addition to the houses, the project has a new 5,000-square-foot community center that provides case management, counseling, healthcare services, social and community-led programs, and education for the veterans in the village.
Due to the success of the project, more than 100 other cities in the nation have asked for help in setting up similar villages. The non-profit plans another village project in Longmont, Colo. and then plans to expand to many more cities over the next three years. Their hope is to go nationwide in the coming years, giving dignity back to so many veterans who had lost hope.
According to their mission statement, “Veterans Community Project is dedicated to supporting every man and woman who took the oath for our country. We are determined to make a difference in the lives of homeless veterans, a task accomplished by the community for the community.”
Notes: My heartfelt desire is for others to get involved in helping the homeless veterans in their local communities. We can all do something to make a difference. Learn about the problem, find a group that is helping, then volunteer in any way you can. If you are unable to volunteer, then make a donation: Time, talent, treasure, every little bit helps. God bless you for caring.