Twelve tiny homes have sprung up in Kansas City intended for veterans without homes. Veterans Community Project (VCP) is a non-profit with a revolutionary concept to create a community of about 50 tiny homes within Kansas City limits called Veterans Village.
Former military veterans founded the organization and have been actively fundraising to build the transitional housing. Team Rubicon, a disaster relief non-profit, volunteered in December to help clear the land. Employees from Tuthill Corporation in Springfield, MO traveled to Kansas City for the day to volunteer with Team Rubicon. It was a chilly, December day, but Tuthill's Chad Sitton, Matt Martin and Joan Singer put their hoods up and got their chainsaws running to remove the trees in the area.
This project is an "outstanding idea," Sitton said. "VCP is really doing a bang-up job on this project. And personally, I got a whole day of trigger time on the saws!"
Now, the focus is on fundraising to build the remaining homes, said Matt Bonnot of the VCP Board of Directors, and a Team Rubicon member.
A 250 square feet home can be built for $10,000. A few organizations such as Home Depot and Honeywell have already sponsored some of the 12 homes that are built, but still uninhabited. Work must be done in the spring to excavate the land and place the homes on proper foundations.
They also plan to build a community center on the land which will have a clinic and recreation room. It will serve as a location for social work and a place for veterans to discuss employment opportunities.
For Martin, volunteering at the Veteran's Village meant a great deal personally. He used to live in Kansas City and enlisted in the Army out of the Kansas City MEPS location. "There was a time when I lived out of my truck for a while, and having something like [Veterans Village] at the time would have changed everything. It felt good to get out there and help however I could," he said.
Singer, another Tuthill volunteer, said her service on the project was a way to give back to veterans. "The least I can do is contribute to a project to help put them back into civilian life," she said.
Once the Kansas City Veterans Village proves to be a success, the non-profit would like to bring tiny home communities for veterans without homes to other cities across the United States, Bonnot said. One of the largest hurdles, aside from funding, is locating cities with zoning that allows tiny homes. Bonnot said the city of Kansas City was very helpful in updating regulations to permit this village to be built. The homes must be connected to basic services and cannot have wheels.
Bonnot explained that VCP aims to serve "anyone who has ever taken an oath for our country." Often times, he explained, people do not meet the strict criteria for being a "veteran," which has left many men and women unable to apply for government services. VCP is aiming to help close this gap.
If you are interested in donating your time or funds to the Veterans Village, you can do so on their website.