ST. LOUIS – St. Louis is about to get an entire new neighborhood in north city, unlike any other – a tiny home village for veterans.
In a 10-0 vote, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee approved the $250 purchase of a vacant lot near Aldine Avenue and N. Grand Boulevard in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood.
“It’s a very good project and our veterans deserve this,” said 18th Ward Alderman Jesse Todd, who sponsored the bill.
The nonprofit Veterans Community Project opened a tiny home village for veterans in Kansas City in early 2018.
Former Missouri Secretary of State, US Senate candidate, and Afghanistan veteran Jason Kander serves as VCP president. He told the aldermanic committee the Kansas City village was “wildly successful,” giving veterans not just a place to stay but a place on the team: the team of people who will never forget their sacrifices.
The St. Louis site will have 50 tiny homes, plus a walk-in clinic and community center. It costs about $15,000 to house a veteran, all of it covered by private donations and corporate support.
In the future, VCP also hoped to get a share of the revenue from Missouri marijuana sales, Kander said.
“We hire case managers. These case managers work with these individuals every single day,” said Bryan Meyer, CEO of Veterans Community Project. “Get them back on their feet, get them stable, and then find them a permanent housing solution.”
The average stay for a veteran in the Kansas City village before moving onto permanent housing was 262 days (less than nine months), he said.
The plan is expected to get quick approval from the full board of aldermen. It has the full support of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.
“It’s impossible for anyone to get their life back together from the sidewalk,” she said. “You really need to able to have a place to lay your head every night, to feel safe, and to be supported, so then you can gain independence.”
The city is expected to complete property acquisition and hold a ground-breaking by the end of the month, with the first veterans moving in around February.