Approximately 40 percent of homeless men are veterans, according to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
Nearly half of those suffer from mental illness such as post traumatic stress disorder and another 50 percent struggle with substance abuse.
While government programs do exist to help veterans re-acclimate to civilian life, too many fall through the cracks.
So the citizens of Kansas City and other concerned Americans have decided to take matters into their own hands.
By donating to a private, non-profit organization called Veterans Community Project, founded by fellow veterans, they’re helping build tiny-house communities for homeless veterans around the country.
The first “Veterans Village” was recently completed in Kansas City.
The neighborhood of 50 tiny houses gives struggling veterans the perfect blend of community and privacy, to help them feel more connected and safe. Many struggled to live in group shelters because of PTSD.
“We’re pulling these guys out of the trenches in their battle and saving their lives because they would have done the exact same for us,” co-founder and fellow veteran Brandon Mixon told CNN.
Mixon faced challenges with city officials who didn’t want “another trailer park” built in the city. But because of the overwhelming community support the project received, the city eventually gave in.
In the center of the tiny-house neighborhood is a community center, where the residents can get free health care, mental health care, dental care, and assistance finding jobs.
The houses come stocked with food and household necessities, which can be restocked as needed, until the veterans can get back on their feet again.
The founders say hundreds of cities are interested in replicating the project. The charity’s next stop will be in Nashville, Tennessee.
To donate, visit VeteransCommunityProject.org.