Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg visited the Veterans Community Project of Kansas City Wednesday morning to explore the success of the project. Buttigieg, who’s also the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was joined by mayor-elect of Kansas City, Missouri Quinton Lucas and former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander as they toured houses and met with veterans.
The Veterans Community Project was created by former veterans who saw many of their fellow veterans falling into homelessness after their time serving and decided to create temporary housing for veterans while connecting them to resources to help them get back on their feet.
“The service ethics stay with you through your entire life and it’s good to see a community of volunteers that in many ways have cracked the code to connect veterans through what is sometimes a faceless bureaucracy,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg, Kander, Lucas and officers of the Veterans Community Project met in a closed door meeting to discuss what the presidential candidate could do to help veterans on a federal level.
“We’ve seen that the [Veterans Community Project] in Kansas City has been very successful and we’re here to explore its success and see how we can learn from it,” said Nina Smith, Buttigieg’s travelling press secretary. “We can learn from small projects like this one and work to implement change on the federal level to better help projects like these.”
Veteran Charlie Robinson Jr. and other veterans living in the Veterans Community Projects houses had the chance to talk to Buttigieg and Lucas about their time at the organization, and discuss what changes could be made in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Everyone here is in a situation and here they help you get out of that situation,” Robinson Jr. said. “But our big worry is what happens when we leave here.”
Buttigieg concluded his visit in front of Robinson Jr.’s home and spoke about the hope he saw in the small community.
“Communities aren’t waiting for things to get fixed nationally,” Buttigieg said. “They’re making sure there’s a human face and not just another website and that will always be important no matter what happens at the federal level.”