During the event, attendees will be able to access basic services such as medical care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, aid in receiving Veterans benefits from federal and state Departments of Veterans Affairs, employment and housing assistance, all in a “one-stop” environment. Attendees will receive showers provided by the Army Reserve, new clothing, hot meals, as well as a second chance to connect with their fellow Veterans and enjoy a weekend away from the hardships they normally face. Last year over 400 homeless and at risk Veterans along with their Family members, were served in the same area, Whittier Narrows Park.
This year we estimate approximately 400-600 Veterans and their dependents to take part over the three day event. Think about this, if housing the homeless is expensive, consider the cost of not housing them. The average chronically homeless person costs taxpayers $40,000 — the price of jail, mental institutions, emergency rooms. And after that $40,000 is spent, they are no closer to having a home.
In times of war, a Stand Down means a break from the battles. For some Veterans who fought those battles and came home to fight other conflicts in their private lives, struggles that left them lost and homeless, a Stand Down can be a chance to embark on the road back to their lives. For homeless Veterans, a Stand Down is a break from the street, the hunger, the despair, a time to connect with other Veterans, a time to find out what’s available to get them off the street and help them return to a life they once knew. We are working very hard daily to take away the word homeless away from Veteran. Those two words should never go together.
Learn more about the Veterans Stand Down Program and how you can get involved.