New help on the way for local homeless veterans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New help is on the way for homeless veterans in the metro. St. Michael’s Veterans Center is set to open by the end of this month.

Construction is in the process, but St. Michael’s Veterans Center is officially opening the first of three planned buildings, with 58 apartment units built for homeless veterans.

“If I had something like that when I came back, you know, I know we have a lot of homeless veterans out there, and they need help,” said Vietnam veteran, Curtis Broome.

Broome says he’s thankful he had family support when he returned home, but he says not everyone is so lucky.

“We had jobs when we left, but when we came back, some of us didn’t have our jobs,” Broome added. “They have problems adjusting to civilian life.”

Broome, and many others, think the St. Michael’s Veterans Center is great for the city and will help homeless vets in the long run.

“When a vet moves in here, that vet can stay there for the rest of his or her life,” said Art Fillmore, a veteran himself, but he’s also on the board of directors for the center.

He’s been working with homeless vets for 21 years since he started the Heart of America Stand Down Foundation in 1992.

“That really helps them out with immediate needs, it was a Band-Aid in the long run, what they really needed was stabilization,” Fillmore added.

After all four phases are complete the center will be a full campus of housing and support services for homeless vets.

“I knew that once they got in a place where they could live and know that bed would belong to them as long as they wanted it to, they would start getting the help that they needed, really get themselves back together,” Fillmore said.

Fillmore says there are 1600 to 1700 homeless vets on the streets of Kansas City, and many of them want to change the way they live.

“The life they deserve for saving their country,” said Fillmore.

The building will be fully committed by the June 30 grand opening, meaning 58 homeless veterans will be living here by the end of the month.

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