A new house, new furniture, and a new beginning. The Veterans Community Project will begin moving some residents into their new tiny home in early October.
The transitional housing for homeless veterans is still under construction and will eventually be a village of 50 tiny homes in St. Louis. The homes, ranging from 240 to 320 square feet, include a full kitchen, bathroom, and living space.
“We believe in housing with dignity. Every item in the tiny house is new from the furniture and bedding to the shower curtain. We know for many veterans, this will be the first time they’ve slept in their very own bed for years,” said Rebecca Tallman, Executive Director of Veterans Community Project. “We want to ensure our veterans have everything they need to start this new chapter in their lives.”
Tallman, who is a veteran, said the project is a passion for her.
“Each and every one of us could be that individual that we are serving that has fallen on hard times,” said Tallman. “I think we’re all just one decision away from that. And so, I think it’s important to have the ability to just let someone know that they’re worth it and that we’ve got their back. You’re not just a number to us. You are an individual with an individual circumstance and we want to make sure that you’re seen and you know that you’re worth it.”
Tallman said a variety of on-site support services are also available to help veterans get back on their feet and return to a stable, independent life.
“We’re building a community here,” said Tallman. “You can take someone and give them a house and that doesn’t mean that they’re going to have the ability to function in that house. A lot of these individuals have been homeless for a long period of time. And it’s really about learning those life skills again and being able to manage the the surroundings for them. We have case managers that work one on one with these individuals to find out what got them to this point and what can we do to make permanent housing a permanent solution.”
When the veteran is ready to transition out of the village, they take the entire contents of their tiny home with them.
“Transition is hard no matter what,” said Tallman. “I can tell you even after 20 years of service, even after my husband’s 30 years of service we had difficulty transitioning into civilian life.”
What started in Kansas City has gone national with new tiny home developments in Oklahoma, Colorado, South Dakota, among others. According to Tallman, Veterans Community Project has an 85% success rate to get its veterans into permanent housing.
“Not one organization is going to make a dent in that nearly 35,000 known homeless veterans that are on the streets every single night,” said Tallman. “It’s going to take all of us together. But even those government agencies that have their hands tied know that they would love to serve those veterans are just unable to do so and we’re able to step in and provide those services.”
The pricetag of the project is about $12 million.
The organization has posted a wish list of housewarming items. Donations can be dropped off at the organization’s 1515 N Grand Blvd location.
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