Everyone loves tiny houses these days, and everyone hates that there are so many homeless people in our country who have served to defend it in the military. Now, a group in Missouri is taking this love/hate dynamic and putting together an incredible idea.
An organization called Veterans Community project has built an entire village of tiny houses to provide homes for homeless veterans. This idea is both cost effective and empowering, and has potential to be replicated from coast to coast. Check out their story here.
An idea whose time has come: using the tiny house revolution to actually solve a serious problem in our country. Military veterans make up a remarkably large segment of our nation’s homeless population. It is a national disgrace that men and women who have served to protect us in times of war and peace should be cast aside and left to fend for themselves with no support from society beyond occasional handouts.
Veterans Community Project, or VCP, is a Missouri organization that is tackling this problem head on. VCP was founded by three veterans who saw the gaps in services that veterans needed to survive in civilian life after experiencing the trauma of combat followed by life on the streets.
Working on a site of about four acres, they are constructing fifty tiny houses that will serve at least as many homeless vets. But the project does not end by putting a roof over their head. They will also be offering peer counseling and job training as a way to help reintegrate veterans back into the broader community.
According to their website, VCP says “The goal would be to get veterans straight off the streets and hand them the keys to their full furnished tiny house (stocked with food), without the veteran having to go through the hassles of waiting for gas, electric, deposits, inspections, and voucher processes. We would then stabilize them to educate and support them on reintegrating into society all while treating and addressing their housing barriers as we move them into permanent housing.”
Each house is 240 square feet and is being built by volunteers and with donations from business and private individuals.
“We do this on weekends, holidays, evenings, whenever we can,” said Chris Lawrence, who is providing some of the lumber used to build the tiny homes through an organization she helps run called 2x4s For Home. “We’re just trying to help make a difference. Little by little, one board at a time.”
They began construction in 2015 and plan to be complete and ready for residents by winter 2017.
“Going from extreme isolation to extreme socialization can be very overwhelming and cause unwanted outcomes. We believe that handing the veteran the keys to their own home and letting them socialize at their own pace is key to a successful outcome.”
It is commonly accepted on both sides of the political divide that the US Veteran’s Administration has been failing our heroes for decades. From warriors returning from Vietnam, to “Gulf War Syndrome”, right up through the current war on terror, VA hospitals, education programs, and housing services have been a poor payment for a debt that can never truly be repaid.
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Do you live near any settlements like this? Have you ever experienced homelessness in your life? Share your stories with us here.