Community Organization Fights for Those Who Served Our Country
The headlines abroad read, “The US Spends Trillions On Wars, But Veterans Sleep In Streets.”
Locally, retired Army Specialist Brandonn Mixon, co-founder of the Veterans Community Project, (VCP), works on moving homeless veterans off the streets and into tiny houses. He wants Kansas City to be an example of what can happen when vets help vets.
These retired veterans believe “one homeless veteran is one too many.” VCP is intent on offering a solution to the problem.
Mixon, a Lee’s Summit native, and veterans Chris Stout and Bryan Meyer are the co-founders and day-to-day operation leads of the Veterans Community Project, an organization dedicated to providing individual housing for homeless vets in the area.
Since its inception in 2016, VCP has created a subdivision of tiny houses at 89th and Troost on land acquired from the Land Bank of Kansas City. Each of the planned 50 units is about the size of a studio apartment and furnished with the basics.
The aptly named tiny houses are 240 square feet each. Every home is built upon a concrete foundation and meets code requirements of new construction. All are connected to city sewer, water, and electric services. The homes were designed by Liberty architecture firm, A3G Architects.
Each tiny home consists of a kitchen, bed and climate control. The veterans pay no rent or utilities and are allowed to stay six months or a year. There is no standard application process. Residents are identified through outreach programs. Allocation of living space is flexible and customized to each veteran’s individual needs.
“When the veterans do transition out of the community, they can take all of the items out of their tiny home with them,” Mixon explains. “But,” he emphasized, “VCP’s main mission is not to just provide a roof, couch or refrigerator.”
“The tiny houses are the catchy, sexy, cool piece. VCP provides services such as free health care, dental care, veterinary services, and help in finding work.” Mixon and his partners firmly believe that is the best thing they can do for their “brothers and sisters.”
One tiny house and its contents, plus food and other necessities, costs about $15000 to sponsor. Donations to the non-profit organization are tax-deductible. Corporations and individuals have come forward to support the endeavor.
“People have come up to me when I’m out in a public place and say they just want to shake my hand and thank me for what our group is doing,” Mixon shares. “People of all ages and many different areas have contributed to our success. Kansas City definitely has our backs.”
“We may have started this,” Mixon confides, “but it’s the people of Kansas City who have made it happen. Everything in every tiny house, including the materials and labor to construct them, is donated.”
“The support from the community has been overwhelming,” Mixon says.” Veterans Village is a tribute to their care and response to an urgent and real need.”
VCP is committed to providing housing stability and address the underlying cause of the veterans’ homelessness.
In January, 13 homeless veterans (11 men and two women) received their brand new tiny homes. The tears shared were tears of joy.
Now, Mixon says he won’t sleep until every one of his “brothers and sisters” has a roof over their heads. He’s going to fight for them at home just as they fought for him abroad.
If reality runs parallel to effort, that time is closer than we know.
To learn more about this project or contribute to its growth, go to VeteransCommunityProject.org.