Whether we’re aware of it or not, our brave veterans come back to the United States to less opportunity and more heartbreak than they might have expected to find. Many veterans, injured in the line of duty, lack the support of government programs already pushed to the brink by fund decreases.
Because of this, thousands upon thousands of brave heroes end up living on the streets in this great country of ours. But many people know this is happening and refuse to allow it to continue. One such organization recently had a brilliant idea…
It’s impossible to actually calculate it, but the theory is that over 39,471 veterans in the United States are homeless on any given night. Whichever way you turn and twist, that’s an incredible and troubling number. It is because all these heroes have found their way back home without a home to go to, that some people are trying to do something about it.
The North Texas Veteran’s Relief Fund, a new non-profit organization, has decided to do something about all these homeless heroes. The NTVRF saw that the United States had some gaping holes in their veteran assistance programs and resolved to do something about it. At first, it was small things, paying utilities or getting a car repaired, but they want to do much more…
When possible, the NTVRF does their best to help any individual veteran, or their family, find what they need to get back on their feet. It’s a tall order, however, and they knew they could do more. Organizations like the NTVRF, small, community-based outreach programs, often provide the most efficient and successful method for helping homeless vets.
Their newest five-year plan is the most ambitious one yet. So ambitious in fact that it’s sheer virtue skyrocketed it forward into a two-year plan. 3.5 acres of available land was donated to NTVRF last year and they planned to do good things with that land…
North Texas Veterans’ Relief Fund donations director, Virginia Arellano, had come up with some rather ambitious plans for that land. It would become Base Camp Lindsey, a homeless veteran housing site, and in no time at all, they had all the money they’d need for it. Currently, they have $15,000 toward their goal of $500,000 for the project
More and More Donors
Arellano added that as local businesses become aware of what they’re doing for veterans, more and more donations have been steadily coming in. One local business named Brian’s Plumbing has actually made a sizeable donation already. But what exactly is the NTVRF building on Old Windthorst Road?
Base Camp Lindsey, named after veteran and Buffalo soldier, Felix L. Lindsey, will be a refuge for dozens of homeless vets. Lindsey fought in the Indian Wars and was a resident of the Wichita Falls area, so it makes sense that they would want to honor him with the name.
Homes for the Homeless
The camp on Old Windhorst Road has been designed as a place where many of Texas’ own homeless veterans can find new homes to call their own. It’s not much to look at now, just a banner announcing it’s impending arrival but once it’s built, Base Camp Lindsey will provide homes and services to many downtrodden veterans…
When complete, the development is slated to include up to 50 small houses, a community garden for growing food, a prayer garden and chapel, and even a large community center. Base Camp Lindsey will be a place where veterans can not only have a home but a community of their peers as well.
The homes will be small, probably only about 12-foot by 20-foot, but the homeless veterans will finally have a roof over their heads again. Obviously the homes are only a temporary solution and are designed as a transitional living situation for the veterans until they can get back on their feet…
Some Might Stay
Unfortunately, the reality is that some veterans may live at the camp permanently. There are some who have no home or family to go back to, no lives they can reclaim. Some are even so wounded or mentally infirm that they can no longer live independently.
Arellano said that each of the single-person houses will include a sleeping area, sitting area, bathroom, closet, and even a mini-kitchen with a small refrigerator and microwave. It won’t be much, but it will be far more than many of these individuals have had for themselves for years.
Each house costs about $10,000 to build. All of them will be built off-site and brought to the property when completed. There are even plans to build 10 larger houses so that those handicapped veterans and those with families can also have a place to go.
The community center will be one of the first and only buildings they construct on the site. It will serve as a focus for the community and unlike the smaller homes, will have a full kitchen and serve meals to residents who choose to eat there rather than in their homes. Though they can always take back leftovers to heat up in the microwave.
How it Looks
This is an early artistic rendering of what the Base Camp Lindsey community for homeless veterans will look like. The plan is to give these renderings and a full plan to the city in April of 2018 and if the city approves it, they’ll begin construction soon after: so long as enough funds are raised.
Plans for More
As funds allow, the NTVRF will continue to add more homes and more amenities once the community center is completed. But Wichita Falls isn’t the only area that has organizations helping to house and feed the homeless…
Other cities around the country have made great strides towards tiny-home communities for the homeless and for veterans. Kansas City, for example, has a site planned out for 50 houses for veterans. They have been building since 2016 and have already built some homes.
Pittsburgh and Austin
There are also veterans’ homes projects near Pittsburgh as well. The Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard, began raising funds in 2017. They’ve been able to raise hundreds of thousands of their goal of $5 million. Austin, Texas has a 27-acre village called Community First! which has been designed for chronically homeless residents…
Getting to the Heart of It
It’s the hope of the NTVRF that Base Camp Lindsey will provide shelter and comfort to the homeless veterans in their area, but so much more. They believe the services it will provide for food and counseling and prayer will also help veterans overcome the obstacles in their lives that led to their homelessness.
Eliminating the Problem
Through the efforts of people like the NTVRF, two states and 50 communities in the United States have been able to emphatically declare that they have eliminated veteran homelessness. There’s still a long way to go, but places like Base Camp Lindsey will help make all the difference.