JOPLIN, Mo. — There are 50 homeless veterans in Joplin at any given time. It’s a statistics the group Our Veterans First is trying to lower. The group is in the early planning stages to building transitional housing in Northwest Joplin.
Four dozen members of the community came out to share their thoughts and ask questions on how this project would work.
Our veterans first was supposed to hold its monthly meeting Thursday night at Royal Heights United Methodist Church.
But it quickly turned into a public input meeting.
Tom Wilson, Royal Heights Resident, said, “There’s a lot of rumors going on”
Those rumors center around an idea to bring transitional housing for homeless veterans to a property owned by the church.
Michelle Lee, Our Veterans First, said, “It would be 24-month transitional housing, we would provide the programming needed to help them get back on their own.”
The plan is to build 16, 400-square foot duplexes on the property, which would also include a site manager on property 24/7 to keep an eye on the residents.
“We would provide the food, utilities, home, all they would have to do is address what they have going on.”
Residents who came out tonight have a lot of questions about the project and some have concerns.
Tom Wilson, Royal Heights Resident, said, “My biggest concern is that our kids, our grand-kids have a safe environment and that’s continued.”
While others say this kind of service is needed.
Monica Dixon, Royal Heights Resident, said, “If we cannot take care of those who took care of us, then we’re no better than dirt.”
Residents say they know this idea is still in the beginning stages and they plan to come to more meetings to see how things play out.
“I plan on being involved,” said Wilson.
“I will do whatever needs to be done,” said Dixon.
Representatives with Our Veterans First say the group meets the first Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at Royal Heights United Methodist Church.
Anyone interested in learning more about this project is invited to attend.
They stress, this project is still in the early stages so there’s no timeline on when any work could begin.