Kansas City development serves as refuge for local veterans

November 07, 2023

U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance invested more than $20 million in the St. Michael’s development that provides housing for disabled and/or formerly homeless service members

Ozy McDaniel hails from Kansas City but the United States Marine Corps took him a lot of places from 1977 to1985. He joined the Marines because his dad and uncles served in the military, but McDaniel didn’t realize the impact or meaning it would have on his life until later.

Man making coffee
Ozy McDaniel makes coffee to be served at St. Michael's Veterans Center.

“The longer I stayed in and saw what it had to offer, I realized it served a bigger purpose than what I could’ve imagined,” he said. “It meant a lot to serve this country, and I would do it again if I had to.”

McDaniel is one of about 125 formerly homeless and/or disabled vets and their families who call St. Michael’s Veterans Center home. He moved five years ago into the Kansas City, Missouri, affordable housing development that features 117 apartments.

McDaniel is one of several residents who work in the onsite coffee shop where residents gather every morning.  

“The stories people share here are my favorite,” he said. “I’ve found out most people here are like me. It’s good for me to be around them and it’s a nice play to stay.”

U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance has been involved with St. Michael’s from the start. For phases one and two, Impact Finance contributed more than $20 million in equity. Phase three construction will start in early 2024 and consist of 62 more units that will include one- and two-bedroom apartments. 

“St. Michael’s is a special place,” said Lynn Craghead, who is the affordable housing project management team lead for Impact Finance and lives in Kansas City. “It provides the right mix of activity and tranquility needed for the veterans who live there. We’ve been an equity investor in the campus dating back to 2013 and it’s been a privilege to be a part of the impact the center makes on our local veterans and their families.”

Two men sitting together in chairs
James Turner, left, and Frank Locknar take a break to chat at St. Michael's Veterans Center.

Since 2013, Impact Finance has supported a range of housing for veterans nationwide, totaling over 3,600 units, and $575 million in equity and $588 million in debt commitments in investments.

According to Susan Engel, the center’s executive director, there are usually 50 to 100 people on the waiting list. She is one of many who are excited about the next phase so their reach can expand. 

On a warm but windy November day, Engel walked around the campus and visited with McDaniel and several other residents who help in the coffee shop or with a monthly mobile food pantry. 

Resident Frank Locknar, who served with the United States Navy from 1972 to1976, said he looks forward to giving back through the pantry. Produce and other goods are delivered by a regional food bank, and for those who can’t pick up the produce themselves, Locknar delivers it to their rooms.

“It forces me to be around people and help some of the residents who need it,” he said.  

Locknar emphasized how much he loves St. Michael’s.

“I think this is the luckiest I’ve ever been,” he said. “This is a lifesaver. I am blessed to be here.”

More stories

Bank investing in San Francisco’s Tenderloin community

The Ambassador Hotel houses 134 residents, serves as critical affordable housing

Hattie Redmond Apartments welcomes some of Portland’s most vulnerable residents

U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance supports affordable housing designed to address homelessness and meet the needs of Black and disabled individuals

Introducing U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance

New name but same commitment from U.S. Bank subsidiary delivering impact-focused financial solutions

Media center

Press contact information, latest news and more

Learn more

Company facts, history, leadership and more

Work for U.S. Bank

Explore job opportunities based on your skills and location