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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An organization founded by a group of combat veterans in Kansas City announced it will expand to more than half-a-dozen cities, including St. Louis and Oklahoma City, by the end of 2022.

The Veterans Community Project turned to former NBA and University of Kansas star Nick Collison to help make the announcement on Twitter and YouTube.

The Veterans Community Project works to fill the gaps that veterans often face after being discharged by the military.

Since it was founded in 2015, the nonprofit built a community of dozens of tiny homes at East 89th Street and Troost Avenue in Kansas City. Houseless veterans can live in the homes as they work to get back on their feet. They also have access to the group’s walk-in outreach center as well as a bus stop. The Kansas City Area Transit Authority provides free transportation for veterans.

The project is also in the middle of a fundraising campaign to build what it calls a new “Navigation Campus.” When the building is complete, the organization will be able to offer financial management, job searches, mental health care access and other needs to veterans.

Those needs came in the form of preparing for a harsh winter Thursday morning. A mobile “stand down” unit was deployed inside the veterans outreach center. Volunteers and community partners passed out coats, boots and other winter weather gear the men and women will need in the coming weeks.

Employment services, legal assistance, and even the VA Medical Center were also at the event to provide free flu shots, COVID-19 boosters, and help finding jobs.

“We’re extremely proud about what we’ve done here in Kansas City. This is the flagship and this is where it started, this is the heart and soul of Veterans Community Project. The ability to spread this project across the nation, it’s a joy. To see each city own the project is what makes us successful,” Vincent Morales, Veterans Community Project Co-Founder, said.

If you are a veteran who needs help, or would like to learn more about the group, the Veterans Community Project’s website has additional information.