Tiny houses becoming a big reality for local homeless veterans as work begins on ‘Veterans Village’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Drive by 89th Street and Troost in Kansas City and you may hear the ongoing sounds of jackhammers, drills and a lot more.

“Today is a big day for us for many reasons,” Bryan Meyer told FOX 4. Meyer and his friends are former combat soldiers and co-founders of Veterans Community Project.

After two years of planning, meeting and waiting, the group is ecstatic to finally mark a huge step with an important project that’s close to their hearts.

“It’s really exciting. We’re really looking at weeks now,” the U.S. Marine veteran said.

The group’s “Veterans Village” will provide transitional housing for some of Kansas City’s estimated 170 homeless vets. On Wednesday an eager Meyer could hardly wait to share how the project is moving along.

“We’re now pouring the foundation to the first 13 tiny houses,” Meyer said.

Those houses will eventually have running water, electricity and most of all, veterans.

“We were all working with the homeless veterans population in different capacities, and we just saw a lot of gaps in services," Meyer said. "We also thought existing programs and structures in place were a little inadequate, so we’re offering our services to any man or woman, whoever took the oath to service."

In the meantime, Gina Hill, Veterans Community Project’s administrative assistant, is also glad to see their first round of tiny houses finally becoming a reality for vets. Hill is a caregiver for her husband, retired Sgt. Allen Hill, a Marine and Iraqi war veteran injured 10 years ago.

Gina said without the tiny houses, many vets would end up “on the street, in jail -- you know -- without anything."

“I just thank what they’re doing is a good deal for veterans," Marine Corps and Air Force veteran James Barmstrong said. "They served the country. They should be taken care of."

During the holiday season, the group is also keeping busy providing food baskets to area veterans in need, and by the new year, Veterans Village, will give more than a dozen homeless veterans a place to call their own.

“New home, new year, new paths -- that’s what we want to be able to provide for these people,” Meyer said.

In addition to the first 13, the group plans to build an additional 37 tiny houses for homeless veterans in 2018.