KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Twenty six homes down and 23 to go before the Veterans Community Project (VCP) Village is officially complete.
It’s been a work in progress for 4 1/2 years. On Sunday, the VCP Village opened its doors and uncapped its sharpie markers to show how far its come.
For some, It’s as simple as a sentence.
“Thinking of you and thankful for you,” the handwritten red Sharpie message read. Cathy Trabue read the rest of her message: “And thank you for everything you’ve done for us.”
For others, its as powerful as a bible verse.
“In all these things, we are more than conquerors,” began Julie Brown’s contribution, from Romans 8:37. She explained why she selected that one.
“If you’ve been completely broken,” Brown said. “If you’ve been and seen that you have nothing in front of you , you always have something to hold onto.”
Gratitude, respect, and love are written on the outside frames of the tiny homes at 89th and Troost and heard on the inside of each.
The Veterans Community Project (VCP) Village is halfway to its goal of housing 49 veterans. The goal is to provide permanent houses for transitional veterans; these are places for vets to live in for two years or less, until they get back on their feet.
“I think it`s needed, we have way too many homeless veterans,” Cathy Trabue said.
VCP said roughly 200 veterans are on Kansas City streets every night.
“And they need some kind of way to bridge into some kind of normal,” Trabue said. “More normal living situation.”
On Sunday, VCP hosted its first ever ‘Framed With Love’ project. “It allows the community to come out and write really awesome messages,” VCP Co-Founder Mark Soloman said. “To these veterans that are going to be housed in these houses.”
“‘You’re not alone in this’ has probably been my favorite so far that I’ve seen,” he added.
Charlie Robinson watched it all from his front porch, his newly-adopted dog Blue on a leash at his feet.
“Without VCP, I’d be on the streets,” he said emphatically. He just moved into his house in February.
He looked across the street as dozens of people walked toward the new construction. “It’s beautiful,” he said, “to see the outpour of people who can really respect the veterans and what we’ve done in life, it’s real beautiful.”
Because by November, these homes will be ready for 23 new Charlie Robinsons. Because “Someday,” Robinson said as he sat on his front porch, “there will be another Charlie right here.”
Because what’s really written on all the walls is hope.
The Veterans Community Project said it has been contacted by 600 different cities to start building more villages across the US. But first it said it must complete it’s Kansas City Village. And, Solomon added, VCP plans to keep Kansas City its “World Headquarters.”