Shared from Parade.com
Veterans are building tiny houses for homeless vets in Kansas City, Missouri, creating a community on four acres of vacant land purchased for $500, with the cooperation of the city council and the blessing of the mayor, himself a former Marine.
“This is our field of dreams,” says Kevin Jamison, who retired from the Marines in 2010 and is a co-founder and chief operating officer of the nonprofit corporation Veterans Community Project.
Last fall Zack Giffin from the Tiny House Nation TV show led a workshop to teach local veterans how to build a tiny home.
Group shelters don’t cut it for many veterans. Those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome can’t stay in a room with strangers. But a tiny home gives privacy along with dignity, Jamison says. That also means female veterans will be able to live there.
Each home is 240 square feet and features a living area, kitchen, bed and bathroom, on a foundation, not wheels, and meets city codes for new construction.
“Just giving them a home doesn’t fix everything,” says Bryan Meyer, another former Marine and the project’s legal officer.
The program will include a community center and on-site counselors to create individualized treatment plans, teaching recovery from homelessness and addressing the causes that may stem from mental illness, addiction and other issues.
The plan? Open in August with 10 completed houses and the center, and add more houses until there are 50 in what will look like a small village.
The group’s founders hope to take the program national and have already received calls from other cities.
More and more communities, from Seattle, Washington, to Newfield, New York, are looking at tiny houses as a way to provide shelter for the homeless. In one Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, tiny house pods are being built to house homeless women. A joint effort of the Portland State University Center for Public Interest Design and the homeless advocacy organization Village Coalition, the structures measure 8-by-12 feet and provide room for sleeping and some storage.
Watch the video by Veterans Community Project below to hear touching stories of veterans facing homelessness.