Veteran homelessness is a problem that can be seen across the country.
In Wichita, a non-profit is providing a sense of hope for those who’ve served and protected.
It’s called the Veterans Village of Wichita.
It’s the little things in life that bring a smile to John Stage’s face, a resident of the village.
But it hasn’t been an easy road to happiness.
“I’m 20 percent disabled going for over 100 percent once my cancer turns malignant again,” said Stage.
The Vietnam veteran has been homeless on and off several times in his life.
“They gave me a three day notice because I told them I didn’t pay the rent mainly because my friend died and he had been paying half the rent,” he said.
But, recently the tables have turned for Stage and other homeless veterans, thanks to the Veterans Village of Wichita.
“We’re a 60 unit property, all one bedrooms, all a similar program,” said Paula Mahaney, property manager for the village. “They’re smaller bedrooms, about 520 square feet.”
“It’s been awesome,” said Leon Payne, a resident at the village. “Eating and sleeping and nobody to worry you or mess with.”
Like Stage, Payne is also a Vietnam veteran.
The disabled Marine has stayed at shelters here and there.
But what makes this property different, is that the housing is not temporary and the residents can stay as long as they want.
“They’re giving veterans what they need right now,” said Payne. “You know, a good place to stay, and food to eat and live like a veteran.”
“In the future, we would like to purchase Brint’s Diner and we would have the veterans if they’d like help run it,” said Mahaney.
It’s just a small token of thanks to those who risked their lives for our freedoms.
“All of us veterans, we’re dying every day,” said Payne. “So, we like for the veterans to be helped.”
All the veterans staying there have to be referred by an agency and pay a small fee for rent since it is a government program.
The group is still looking to raise $3.5 million for the project that has room for about 30 more veterans.
It will also include a resource and recreation center, park area and veteran memorial.
If you would like to donate, you can go the Veterans Village of Wichita website.