A homeless community continues to grow in south Kansas City but not as you might expect. It’s a neighborhood of tiny homes built to house homeless veterans from across western Missouri.
Located near 89th Street and Troost Avenue, the Veterans Community Project continues to expand and on Sunday, the public had an opportunity to tour the 26 completed houses and 23 more under construction.
The Veterans Community Project also established an outreach center at 8825 Troost Avenue to provide services for veterans in need of support. Vets can receive free bus service, participate in resume workshops and receive job-placement assistance.
“We give them the help in the way they need and then get them transitioned to hopefully permanent housing or other programs as they need,” Veterans Community Project Co-Founder Mark Solomon said.
Veteran’s homelessness is a problem in the Kansas City area and across the nation.
“Any given night in Kansas City, there’ll be 200 veterans sleeping on the streets and we wanted to make sure we did something about that,” Solomon said.
One of the veterans who lives at the village is Vietnam War veteran Johnny Burke Anderson.
“I can’t get no help, because I ain’t got no money,” Anderson said.
But the 70-year-old Anderson is thankful he found the village, where he has found shelter and compassion along with dozens of other homeless veterans.
“This is the best thing in my life that you could ever accomplish,” said Anderson, who said he became homeless when bills piled up and he couldn’t afford to fix up his house.
He’s hoping this is the place where he’ll find solid footing and get on the right track again.
“You being in a homeless situation is a very treacherous situation,” Anderson said. “You don’t know where you are going to get food from or where you are going to sleep at night.”
The Veterans Community Project hopes to have the entire community, where veterans are able to stay for up to two years, finished by the early fall.
The project is privately funded. For more information or to donate to the cause, visit the Veterans Community Project website.