Not yet two years in existence and still months away from moving anyone into its Veterans Village, a Kansas City nonprofit organization formed to build tiny houses is in the running for a big prize.
The Veterans Community Project, dedicated to constructing a neighborhood of micro houses for homeless veterans, is among 12 charitable efforts worldwide to be nominated for the One Billion Acts Hero Award. The annual prize is sponsored by a global campaign backed by 13 Nobel laureates and several corporate partners.
The One Billion Acts of Peace Campaign selected Veterans Community Project as one of two finalists in the “Best Community Act” category.
In online balloting that began last week, the veterans group quickly collected “999+” votes, evidence of the project’s interconnected network of supporters in social media. The other organization nominated in the community category, a Colombian women’s advocacy group called Ruta Pacifica, had about 350 votes as of Wednesday.
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“This is an unexpected honor for VCP,” said co-founder Bryan Meyer, a Marine veteran.
Billion Acts seeks to inspire 1 billion acts of peace and compassion around the world by 2019. According to its website, BillionActs.org, the peace campaign is led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and other Nobel laureates who will judge prize winners after four weeks of online voting.
Other nominees, paired into five other categories, include an Indian teen’s design for a drone that detects landmines and the University of Oregon’s efforts to engage students in tackling poverty.
Six winners will be honored in June in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Until public voting ends May 15, Veterans Community Project fans can cast an online vote once a day, said Tony Lee, a publicist for the group.
Sprouting from 4.2 acres of undeveloped land at Troost Avenue and 89th Street, the community project is hoping to erect as many as 50 new homes, 12 feet by 20 feet, to be used as temporary housing. The group, led mostly by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, recently opened outreach offices near the site.