KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City veterans will soon have another resource to help them get on their feet.
The Veterans Community Project broke ground Thursday on a new Veterans Community Center at 1201 E. 89th St. in Kansas City. It will be located at the Veterans Community Project Village where homeless veterans live in transitional tiny homes.
"One of the things people don't realize is homelessness is a complex problem, so veterans have a near and dear place to our heart," Mark Solomon, Co-Founder of Veterans Community Project, said. "All of the co-founders are combat veterans, including myself. What we understand is that transitioning from military, where things are really regimented and regulated and people telling you what to do all the time, to civilian life can be a tough transition."
The new Community Center will be almost 5,000 square foot. The goal is to help veterans gain skills they need to succeed in life.
It will provide education, health and wellness programs, social and community activities, and case management services.
"One of the things we're going to provide in this space will be as simple as meeting space. "We're going to have a computer lab, space for hair cuts, just simple things that really make a big difference in their lives as they transition from homelessness into eventually permanent housing," Solomon said. "Rather than just say, 'Here's a place to live,' it's, 'Here's a place to live; here's some cooking skills and some cleaning skills, and budgeting skills and resume writing and getting a job if necessary.'
"It's a whole person concept that we are working on. The idea is to transition people out into permanent housing and when they get there they'll have all the skills they need to be successful."
The Veterans Community Project is also working to finish 23 more tiny homes. When they are complete, there will be a total of 49 homes in the village.
"Any given night, there can be 200 veterans sleeping on the streets in Kansas City and we decided we just want to say 'yes to vets,'" Solomon said. "We are 100 percent privately funded. We don't take any government dollars that way we can say 'yes to vets'. There are a lot of really great programs in Kansas City that help veterans today and our goal is to never reinvent what those folks are doing.
"We're going to supplement that so by the time our veterans are taken care of and cared for, we transition them to these other great programs that already exist in KC. They are better prepared to succeed in those other programs."
Learn more or donate to the cause on the Veterans Community Project's website.