Today is Veterans Day. I waited to share this story, because I think it’s important.
In Kansas City, Missouri, former U.S. Army Corporal Chris Stout is definitely a hero. In more ways than one. Not only did he serve his country, but now he’s giving back to it. Through the Veterans Community Project, tiny homes have been built in the Veterans’ Village, all for veterans who are struggling with homelessness. Chris and several friends quit their jobs in 2015 to start the project, and it’s been blossoming ever since.
The first 13 homes were finished in January. Another 13 will be done by the end of this month. Each house is fully stocked – Furniture, linens, toiletries, food, and even welcome gift baskets.
However, Chris calls the houses the “sexy piece.” The bread and butter is the sense of community, camaraderie, and connecting veterans to the services they need.
In the interview, Chris stated that eight of the original 13 residents have found permanent housing. They take the furniture with them. It takes about 72 hours for a house to set up for a new resident.
The idea is for veterans to get back on their feet, with as much time as they need based on their goals, and get connected with the services they need. While starting the project, Chris found that many didn’t feel safe or have a sense of privacy with traditional shelters. The anticipated length of stay is six months, but as long as they are working on their goals, they’re welcome to stay as long as they like/need.
Another 23 houses are to set to be done by the beginning of 2019. In addition, a community center is nearly finished, which will have medical, dental, and veterinarian care, a barbershop, and a fellowship hall for group events.
When a veteran walks in, the staff gets to work with their bus pass, housing placement, job placement, legal services, food pantry, clothing closet, and emergency financial assistance. So far, the organization has helped more than 8,000 veterans.
More than 650 communities around the country have reached out to Veterans Community Project. They’re growing in Denver, Nashville, St. Louis, and more. Chris’s goal is to be in every major city, helping veterans with what they need.
Chris Stout has already been recognized as a CNN Hero. He’s in the Top 10. The hero with the most votes will receive $100,000 toward their cause. Voting ends December 4th.
Thank you to all veterans! We appreciate your service.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂