OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A debate is unfolding in a historic northeast Oklahoma City neighborhood over a proposed residential project for homeless veterans.
A Kansas City-based non-profit wants to build a village of tiny homes to help vets get back on their feet, but residents of the Capitol View community believe the project would lower property value. The land at Northeast 28th St. and N. Phillips Ave. has already been purchased by VCP, which wants to build 35 tiny homes there that range from 240 to 320 square feet.
Jason Kander, president of the non-profit’s national expansion tells KFOR, “There’s well over 100 homeless veterans right now on the streets in Oklahoma City and we are eager to accept the invitation of community leaders that are in Oklahoma City and help house these people who served our country.”
Christine Price-Allen said she worries about safety and prefers the land be turned into a park, but Kander is working to quell these worries.
“When you talk about any organization that serves the homeless population, people have a picture in their mind,” he explained. “But if you were to look at what we build, it’s not that picture. It’s not that preconceived notion. It is the kind of place that you or I would want to live in.”
Price-Allen said she’s a veteran herself and supports VCP’s project, but wants it built elsewhere in OKC. But Kander said they considered many locations and Capitol Views’ proximity to public transit and a VA center, as well as its available sewer infrastructure, make it a perfect spot for their tiny homes village. He’s doing his best to convince residents of the benefits.
“In addition to the pride that is frequently derived from knowing that there’s something in your community that is making such a difference in homeless vet’s lives, our record also demonstrates it raises the property values of the community around it because of the quality and the care that we go about building it with,” Kander said. “This site really is a perfect site for us and I absolutely believe that it is going to save the lives of a lot of Oklahoma City’s veterans.”
Next month will be very telling of the project’s future, as VCP has a meeting with a citizens advisory committee on Dec. 8 and with the Capitol Medical-Center Improvement and Zoning Commission on Dec. 16.