Their original plan was OK though much lacking in curb appeal.
Last year a few combat veterans from around Kansas City set out to find housing for dozens of their homeless comrades: Maybe raise enough funds to buy an abandoned school? Or a vacant motel?
Well intentioned. But ho-hum.
Then the group started talking about tiny houses, 12 feet by 20 feet, and created real buzz. The Veterans Community Project is now one of the hottest outreach efforts in town.
A planned village of as many as 50 “micro homes,” cuddly as could be, built to code and rent-free. Each with a bathroom, bed, desk and kitchen.
Credit swell timing: Who by now hasn’t heard of America’s tiny-house craze?
Yet back then, retired Marine Corps veteran Kevin Jamison hadn’t.
He and others searching for solutions to veteran homelessness were in the middle of their weekly brainstorms — beers at a Northland Houlihan’s — when one of the attendees, Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar, mentioned a broadcast about tiny houses that she saw on the HGTV channel.
“I’m thinking...what, like a fishing cabin?” recalled Jamison.
That was just 15 months ago.
Jamison and Army veteran Chris Stout, both who served tours in Iraq (and Afghanistan for Stout), researched a few miniature-house communities — some of them makeshift slums — in other cities.
The partners vowed to make their project one of lasting quality, a neighborhood ex-service members deserved.
They had enough of a plan to go to the news media last Veterans Day. They’ll admit now that they weren’t really sure what they were doing.
But as Veterans Day 2016 nears (Nov. 11), the first 10 tiny houses of the Veterans Community Project (VCP) are sprouting on 4.2 acres of never-developed land at Troost Avenue and 89th Street.
Human help, donated supplies and mostly private funding are the keys.
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How to make a homeless veterans project hip? It takes a village of tiny houses