The Veterans Community Project in Kansas City, Missouri is taking steps to combat homelessness and give back to servicemen and women, by providing homes and support for veterans forced to sleep on the streets.
The project today has built almost 50 small homes for veterans – and while the houses may be simple, they’re also warm and secure, with kitchens and private bathrooms. While many are single-occupancy, there are also several larger homes, providing space for those with regular family visitors.
The project targets homeless veterans who are struggling to reintegrate back into civilian life. Many who served for long periods of time struggle to regain practical skills such as financial managment and cooking – while others suffering from addiction and mental illnesses such as PTSD need psychological support and rehabilitation, but often do not have the resources to seek them independently.
The Veterans Community Project sees to fill that gap. Residents are given a strict schedule of activites to follow, and have access of a range of on-site services that provide help with lifestyle management, pyschological rehabilitation, job training and overcoming drug dependency and substance abuse.
Alcohol is banned in the project, and a high level of engagement with the program is required – but while the rules are strict, participants also become part of a community, and are offered a solid and familiar routine to help structure their recovery.
What’s more, by providing veterans with a permanent address, the project allows them to register with medical and financial services, and to seek work – basic opportunities which are almost inaccessible to those living on the streets.
While residents are typically permitted to stay for between six months and a year, the goal of the project is to provide them with a place to live until they have a secure income, a permanent place to live, and are addiction-free.
In a time where – in the US alone – there are approximately 37,000 veterans on the streets on any given night, it’s undeniable that much greater resources are needed to fully address the problems faced by those who have dedicated themselves to military service. However, the Veterans Community Project offers security, community and a framework for recovery – and in doing so, is taking a huge and important step towards giving back.