KANSAS CITY, Missouri — In response to housing instability for at-risk veterans, the Burns & McDonnell Foundation is forming a national partnership with the Veterans Community Project (VCP) to commit funds and resources for efforts to end homelessness among military veterans. The Burns & McDonnell Foundation is donating $150,000 to support VCP’s goal of serving veterans across the nation, identifying four more communities by the end of 2022.
“Veterans Community Project and its leaders have created a model that transforms the way communities can serve veterans and that every city across the country should look to implement,” says Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell. “We’re honored to be the first corporate partner to support VCP’s expansion efforts into other cities where we work, and we look forward to serving alongside VCP as it makes a difference in the lives of veterans’ families.”
Founded in 2016 by combat veterans, VCP provides innovative transitional housing communities consisting of tiny home villages and community outreach centers. Using the Kansas City village as the blueprint for achieving similar successes in cities across the U.S., VCP is actively working to launch operations in St. Louis, Missouri; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Longmont, Colorado.
“Since its beginning, VCP has been the community’s project. Now, it’s the nation’s,” says Bryan Meyer, CEO and co-founder of VCP and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “Our new partnership with Burns & McDonnell is helping VCP deploy resources to serve homeless veterans across the country. With the power of their employee-owners and strength of their corporate foundation, Burns & McDonnell is helping VCP reach new communities quicker and more effectively than we could on our own.”
VCP serves anyone who took the oath to serve, regardless of military discharge status. Since 2017, VCP has served more than 4,500 at-risk veterans and successfully transitioned more than 90 formerly homeless veterans into permanent housing. Case managers work alongside veterans to help achieve incremental and lasting results in the areas of health and wellness, education, employment, financial literacy and the development of a personal support network. Each veteran’s stay in a VCP Village depends on individual progress toward personal benchmarks while working to secure permanent housing. The tiny homes range in size from 240 to 320 square feet, meet all local city code requirements, and connect to city utility services. Family houses are also available and can sleep up to seven people. Veterans stay in VCP Village free of charge, and all utilities and furnishings are also provided.
With more than 60 offices globally, Burns & McDonnell plans to commit both funds and volunteer efforts to support VCP villages in communities where employee-owners live and work.
“Burns & McDonnell employs veterans across the country, so serving veterans in our communities is not just our duty, it’s personal,” says Dan Korinek, vice president for Burns & McDonnell in Denver, Colorado, and Portland, Oregon. “Our Denver team is excited to link arms with VCP in its Longmont expansion that will build a transformational community for our veterans.”
In. St. Louis, plans are in motion to begin construction this fall for 50 tiny homes, a community center, and a Veterans Outreach Center in the Jeff VanderLou neighborhood in north St. Louis. In July, the Sioux Falls City Council approved an ordinance gifting a plot of land for VCP to build a tiny home village and construction will begin within the next two years.
In Longmont, Colorado, VCP’s Veterans Support Services team began serving north Colorado residents in June 2020 and now has opened its Veterans Outreach Center to serve any veteran in the community. Since then, VCP-Longmont has assisted 140 veterans, connecting 24 to permanent housing. Infrastructure work for the 26-unit tiny home Village began in June 2021. Vertical construction on the tiny homes and community center will begin in Spring 2022 with the goal of completion by winter 2022.
“A lot of these folks gave up more and gave more of themselves than the average person could ever understand if they haven’t been in their shoes,” says Todd Soileau, regional health and safety manager for Burns & McDonnell and a veteran of the U.S. Army. “The most that we could ever give back is barely a drop in the bucket toward what we all owe them.”
Approximately 70% of the construction for each tiny home village is planned to be performed by community volunteers. People can donate or volunteer at veteranscommunityproject.org.
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of 7,600 engineers, construction professionals, architects, planners, technologists and scientists to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities with more than 60 offices globally. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned. Learn how we are designed to build.
About Veterans Community Project (VCP)
Founded in 2016 by combat veterans and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, VCP offers an innovative village of tiny houses and outreach assistance that provides inclusive services to aid at-risk and homeless veterans. For more information, visit www.veteranscommunityproject.org.