Kansas City’s network of emergency shelters and transitional housing programs provide an extremely important safety net for our community. However, we strongly believe the only sustainable solution to veteran homelessness is permanent, affordable housing. When SMVC was established 10 years ago, we followed the evidence-based Housing First framework to permanently reduce veteran homelessness. The Housing First model promotes the development of permanent housing with on-site wraparound services focused on sustaining housing and individual wellbeing. We have embraced this model, which is why 95% of our veterans stay permanently housed. This means more than 200 local veterans have permanent housing and are no longer homeless.
This success is why we’re thrilled to extend these services with our new Veterans Navigator (VetNav) program to support other, homeless veterans seeking permanent housing. The VetNav program was developed to create other community-based affordable housing options, while continuing to attract those individuals who want to live on the campus. Through this program, SMVC will work with up to 30 veterans at a time to address immediate housing needs. We expect that 90% of VetNav participants will find safe shelter and transitional housing within 30 days. Within six months, 50% of veteran participants will secure permanent housing.
Meet Shane, our new Veteran Navigator.
SMVC is a vibrant community that takes care of its neighbors. This sense of community can be seen in the ways that residents take care of each other and their continued service to SMVC and our larger Kansas City community. We are a gathering place for all veterans, including those who want to give back to veterans in need. VetNav participants will also benefit from the SMVC campus resources, including the food pantry, the Dignity Closet (personal care and household items), the coffee shop, showers, laundry facilities and computers. But, more importantly, they can become part of our vibrant community that encourages mutual support and provides individuals a sense of purpose.
This new program is made possible through individual and corporate donations and through a contract with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, to manage HUD Emergency Solution Grant Program funds. If you would like to contribute to or get involved with this new program, please let us know.