A Kansas City-based project aimed at helping end homelessness among veterans was touted as a national model Wednesday by United States Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, who toured the campus of the Veterans Community Project in south Kansas City.
The project is a village of tiny homes near 89th Street and Troost Avenue to house veterans until they can get back on their feet. It also helps them find permanent housing and jobs, among other services. Since the project began in 2015, it has grown so much that has expanded from one site on the east side of Troost at 89th Street to include facilities on the west side of Troost as well.
Co-founder Chris Stout said the growth shows the program is more than tiny houses.
"We want to be known as that one stop shop for these guys, that way we're working ourselves out of a job," said Stout, an Afghan War veteran. "We're serving them that one time, they're transitioning back into the community and they're doing it the right way."
Hartzler said it's a model that could be replicated elsewhere, and that she plans to share what she learned with her fellow members of Congress.
"Chris has a wonderful model here of leaving no brother behind and making sure every veteran gets to live in dignity and gets the services they need to have a successful life," Hartzler said.
The organization ultimately hopes to have at least 50 tiny homes at the Kansas City site. Other operations are underway in St. Louis, Colorado and Nashville.
Samuel King is the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter: @SamuelKingNews.