San Luis Obispo County Veterans Stand Down May 16th-18th, 2014
San Luis Obispo County has a growing number of homeless. In 2013, 237 veterans in our community were homeless, forty-three of which being chronically homeless, with hundreds more at risk. The "Stand Down" concept is all about Americans helping Americans... Last year the San Luis Obispo County Veterans Stand Down provided services to over 100 veterans giving them a place to sleep, a place to eat, and a place to shower. San Luis Obispo County will again be hosting a Stand Down at the Veterans Memorial Building, 801 Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo from 6 PM on May 16th to 4 PM on May 18th. Sleeping arrangements will be provided for up to 60 Veterans that wish to stay overnight and it is expected that 150-200 will attend the event.
What is a Stand Down?
In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety. Today, Stand Down refers to a community-based intervention program designed to help the nation's estimated 200,000 homeless veterans "combat" life on the streets.
For the homeless and at-risk Veteran and their families in San Luis Obispo County and elsewhere, life on the streets is debilitating at best. Suffering from lack of shelter, unemployment, physical and emotional disabilities, and lack of food, the homeless and at-risk veteran often feels completely isolated from mainstream society and unable to break out of the self-perpetuating cycle of homelessness. For those who do seek assistance, many are unable to access the help they need because the services required are spread out over a wide geographic area. This means homeless veterans must exert undue time and energy going from one agency to another. Frustration often results. Imagine how the veteran feels knowing he or she has given so much for their country, yet find themselves scraping for food. In assisting our veterans who are homeless we realize that sometimes it takes just one small service for them to break out of the cycle of homelessness, such as needing a photo identification card, a bus token, a pair of shoes to start a new job, or just a shower and a warm bed to rest in for a night.
The San Luis Obispo County Stand Down will offer access to a wide range of services over a short period of time. These services included medical and dental attention, employment counseling, mental health services, legal advice, haircuts, showers, food, clothing, pet care and more. The Stand Down is a team effort involving many local providers including; Veterans Services, The Vet Center, CHC, Red Cross, American Legion, Goodwill, VFW, SLO Libraries and many more.
"It is our desire to offer these veterans a safe environment that will encourage and assist them in finding their place in a community they swore their life to defend" said Dana Cummings the San Luis Obispo County Veterans Service Officer.
Veterans are encouraged to pre-register through the local Veterans Services office at 801 Grand Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA. Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated, if interested please contact the San Luis Obispo County Veterans Services Office at 805-781-5766 and/or email Dana Cumming firstname.lastname@example.org or Brian Rigsby at email@example.com . Please also visit our website at slovets.org for the most up to date information.