Jason Kander says military experience taught him to put mission, country first
Jason Kander, Missouri’s former secretary of state who dropped out of the race for Kansas City mayor last year to focus on treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, will lead the national expansion of a local nonprofit focused on ending veterans’ homelessness.
Veterans Community Project, which has assisted thousands of veterans in the Kansas City-area, announced Kander’s new position with the organization Monday morning. The group plans to expand to eight more locations around the country by 2022.
In an email statement, Kander said that when he decided to end his political career to seek treatment for PTSD, Veterans Community Project helped him through the process.
“Veterans’ homelessness is a national crisis, so I’m proud to join an organization that has created a model to end it,” Kander said. “By expanding nationally, our goal is for VCP to both end veterans’ homelessness and help millions of other veterans get the services they’ve earned.”
Kander was considered the front-runner to win the 2019 race for Kansas City mayor. But last October he stunned the local political community with a message on his campaign website and Facebook page, revealing that in the 11 years since leaving Afghanistan as an Army intelligence officer, he has experienced depression, nightmares and suicidal thoughts.
Before entering the race for mayor, Kander founded a voting rights advocacy organization called Let America Vote. His new role with Veterans Community Project is a full-time, paid position.
Veterans Community Project works with homeless veterans by by connecting them with existing community resources and by escorting them through the VA process to ensure they get the services they earned.
The organization constructed a village of tiny homes near 89th Street and Troost Avenue that veterans can live in rent-free as they receive comprehensive assistance to find a permanent place to live, secure a quality job and get any medical care they need.
Kander’s first week in the job will get a boost from another military veteran-turned politician, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. The South Bend mayor will tour Veterans Community Project with Kander and Mayor-elect Quinton Lucas on Wednesday morning.