Photo of the Day: Compassion in my back yard.

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vp2It seems ironic that it took an article in the “Los Angeles Times” today to become aware of something beautiful and newsworthy less than five miles from my home. But I am so grateful to be made aware that my hometown of Kansas City is offering free housing to our cities homeless veterans.

To be fair, once I began to research this, I became aware that the local media outlets have been reporting this story for months. So I wanted to forward the news to anyone else in KC that may not have known about this act of compassion and to get the word out so that perhaps other American cities can learn by the example here.

This excellent work is being done by the Veteran’s Community Project and by the largesse of corporate and individual contributors.

The Veteran’s Community Project has built a total of 26 houses with an additional 23 scheduled after the Spring Thaw. The homes are what are called “tiny houses.” These dwellings are ingeniously compact and offer full kitchens bedroom and bath. The tiny houses are built as transitional homes to get the Vets off the street and into a residence. The Veterans have no rent or utility fees but do have to submit to an advance agreement. A nearby community center specially designed for Vets offers assistance with health concerns, vocational training, counseling,  and an opportunity to interact and network with their brothers and sisters in arms. A caseworker is assigned to each Veteran to ensure they are given individual attention and to help design in tandem a transitional plan towards greater independence.

According to a project spokesperson, there are as many as 200 of our Veterans sleeping on the streets in Kansas City on a given night. The project is doing an honorable work of helping break the cycle of poverty and despair that grips many who have selfishly served our nation.
A public photo I found of a sample interior of the homes. They are surprisingly spacious and offer an attractive, clean, safe and temperature controlled environment. For many veterans, it may be the only warm bed they’ve had in weeks or longer.

VCP says it is hoping to expand beyond Kansas City and establish similar venues in other Cities in the US. People’s opinion can differ on the necessity and value of some of the armed conflict we have entered into over the last 40 or 50 years, but I hope we agree that those who served our nation with honor deserve to be respected and appreciated for their service and sacrifice. I think free transitional housing is more than fair. After all our Veterans have already paid the price.

I want to include a link to this terrific organization in case you have questions, want to learn about volunteer opportunities or would like to contribute financially to this outstanding and  worthwhile project:

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