Ep. 21 Veterans Community Project with Bryan Meyer
Welcome to the "Militarily Speaking" podcast with Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery.
In this episode of “Militarily Speaking,” Tom, Jodi, and guest Bryan Meyer, CEO of Veterans Community Project, discuss all of resources made available to any veteran through their Veteran Outreach Centers and their tiny homes villages.
“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.
Ep. 21 — Veterans Community Project with Bryan Meyer
Introducing Bryan Meyer and Veterans Community Project
Tom and Jodi their guest Bryan Meyer, CEO of Veterans Community Project (VCP).
- Jodi discusses Bryan’s service history, and briefly touches on how he, along with a few other cofounders, started VCP.
- Bryan then shares his struggles transitioning to civilian life, and how that motivated him to start Veterans Community Project.
- After graduating law school, he started a non-profit that granted free legal services to veterans.
Bryan continues to discuss what Veterans Community Project is, and what they do to help veterans.
- He says that it is a walk-in clinic where the only prerequisite is that you have taken an oath to serve our country.
- He continues by saying they are more famous for building their villages of tiny homes for veterans with on-site case management.
- After prompting from Tom about the sizes, Bryan notes that they are not like the tiny homes you see on tv, but are actually regular homes, just less square footage.
Veteran Outreach Center and VCP Village
Tom asks Bryan what their solution to provide both the Veteran Outreach Center and the VCP Village, and how veterans can transition between them.
- Bryan begins with the outreach center, noting that extremely low barrier for entry of taken an oath to serve the country.
- He says that VCP doesn’t house all of the programs themselves, but partners with local businesses that have agreed to partner and help veterans in need.
- When people show up are homeless or housing insecure is when Bryan says they move them to the residential program.
- He talks about how if someone is housing insecure, they aren’t able to focus on other things that may be going poorly, which is why they start at the most basic level.
Jodi notes that VCP is one of the fastest growing veterans’ nonprofits in America, and asks Bryan to talk about where they are expanding, and how people can bring VCP to their community.
- Bryan recalls the timeline of starting VCP, and where they are now, noting they see the demand to expand to other cities, but limit their growth to not dilute their service offerings.
- He says that the best place for people to learn about VCP, or how to bring it to your city, visit their website: https://www.veteranscommunityproject.org/
- He then discusses how far along every city is that they are currently building in.
Tom says that they have 50 houses in Kansas City, with 49 occupied, and asks Bryan if that is normal, or if they are now at full occupancy.
- Bryan says they strive for 85% occupancy, because that allows them to flip houses in between residents, and have extra room in case of emergencies.
- He then tells two stories of two veterans that suddenly found themselves homeless, and how they were able to help in those situations.
Get Involved with Veterans Community Project
Tom then asks a number of questions, focusing on how people can get involved in the organization.
- Bryan says that they operate entirely off of donations of good will, because federal or state funding has a number of restrictions.
- He then reiterates to find out more about how to help, whether through donations or volunteering, visit their website: https://www.veteranscommunityproject.org/
- After prompting from Tom, Bryan then discusses their successful transition rates compared to other programs of a similar nature.
- He says that while the case management programs are individualized, the are based off of their five pillars of support: health and wellness, income stability, fiscal understanding, education and training, network and support.
- He then recalls another story of a veteran that they assisted, even though he was dishonorably discharged.
Jodi then asks Bryan to touch on the other services Veterans Community Project offers to veterans.
- Bryan discusses their emergency assistance program, which offers financial assistance in particular cases.
- He notes that they don’t just give the help as a band aid, but do a deeper dive to solve the issue at its core.
- He then discusses the free bus pass program they set up in Kansas City.
Jodi then asks Bryan in what ways he is getting involved in the local communities to raise awareness for Veterans Community Project.
- He says raising awareness is the most important thing they do because there are people out there that need their assistance that are just unaware that this type of assistance exists.
- He continues by noting some of the events they host, such as their annual House Party in Kansas City, where they talk about how many of their ideas are permeating across the country.
- Bryan also says there are other organizations that also host bingo nights, golf tournaments, etc. that help them raise both awareness and money.
Jodi introduces the Military Minute segment of the show, beginning by closing out last episode’s Military Minute.
- Last episode’s Military Minute: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity nationwide is at approximately ____%
- Answer: 10%
- This week’s Military Minute question: What was the success rate of transitioning veterans from homelessness to permanent sustainable housing in 2021?
- Watch for Facebook and Instagram posts about this episode.
- Answer with the correct answer and you plus a charity of your choice can each win $50.
Tom closes the episode by asking listeners to go to www.afbank.com and subscribe to the show, as well as leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Join us to hear how to better navigate your finances, military life, and the crossroads of the two.