NewsThe NorthSider

$2.2 million grant aids ‘village’ for homeless veterans

JEFF-VANDER-LOU – A plan to build a “village” of tiny houses for homeless veterans got a boost Wednesday with a grant of $2.2 million from the Missouri Veterans Commission.

The money is coming from the Missouri Veterans Care and Health Fund, set up as part of the state’s new medical marijuana law. ) The Veterans Community Project first approached the state’s veterans commission in 2019 about the plan, and it won a place in the budget.

The nonprofit, founded and run by combat veterans, is based in Kansas City and is funded largely by private donations. A village of the tiny homes is already operating there.

The four-acre site for the tiny village, along Aldine Avenue west of N. Grand Boulevard, was dedicated in October. The houses will be on about a block and a half of Aldine just west of the John Cochran Veterans Administration hospital at 915 N. Grand. The project’s footprint lies in three of the city’s wards: Ward 19, Alderwoman Marlene Davis; Ward 18, Alderman Jesse Todd; and a sliver in Ward 4, Alderwoman Dwinderlin Evans.

The village will have 50 tiny homes of 240-320 square feet each, plus a community center that will serve as “base camp,” providing case management services, education, health and wellness programming, and social activities for the veterans. The center will help veterans with support services such as emergency rent and utility assistance, food and hygiene kits, employment support, military documentation and benefits navigation.
The village is expected to begin housing veterans by late this year. The tiny houses aren’t designed as permanent homes but as long-term transitional housing “to get homeless veterans off the street and transition them to permanent housing. In contrast to traditional homeless services, a tiny home provides the veteran with privacy, a sense of security, and the ability to reintegrate at a comfortable pace.” A spokesman for the group said the average stay in a tiny home was 275 days.

St. Louis has already begun another such a village of tiny houses, at 900 N. Jefferson Avenue, near downtown. That project is for any otherwise homeless person, not necessarily veterans.

 

Staff

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