Prescott StandDown is taking place for the eighth year, but this time it's an overnight event for homeless and at-risk veterans and it's in Prescott Valley. Between 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18, and 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, organizers expect 350 veterans to stop by or stay at Tim's Toyota Center, 3201 N. Main Street. Services include: VA: enrollment, eligibility, benefits, medical, mental health; Social Security and disability; DES assistance, legal assistance (Thursday only, pre-registration required); military records; family assistance; public health; dental services; HIV/AIDS screening; treatment and counseling; veteran services organizations; female services; support groups; pet assistance; showers, haircuts; clothing; hygiene supplies; and food.
The group seeks a plethora of volunteers and vendors Sept. 17-19 to make the event successful. Help is needed with set-up, tear down, distribution of supplies, security, overnight stay, guest guides, and data entry.
Anyone wishing to donate new clothing, hygiene items and such should call Alyssa Muir at 928-445-4860, ext.5285, or Skye Biasetti at 928-583-7679.
For more information, or to register for the event, visit: www.arizonastanddown.org, or contact Alyssa.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans should bring a copy of DD-214 for faster registration.
Prescott StandDown also supports homeless veterans through its All Red shirt sales ($15 each). Many groups advocate Red Shirt Fridays to show support for service men and women by wearing red every Friday.
Stand down as a military term signifies an end to an action. In this case, homelessness stands down, or ends.
A group of Vietnam vets organized the first Stand Down in San Diego in 1988. The concept is to ensure the homeless veterans have access to the services they need, bring awareness of their plight to the community and ultimately, end veteran homelessness once and for all.
A statistic on the Veterans Administration (va.gov) web site indicates the U.S. has nearly 63,000 homeless veterans, and that, "Even one Veteran without safe or stable housing is too many." They become homeless for reasons such as: poverty, lack of understanding from family/friends, substance use, or trauma from their service that can cause or exacerbate mental health problems.
This year, to serve these warriors who proudly served their country, VA has dedicated $1.4 billion to specialized homeless programs and $4.4 billion to health care for veterans who are homeless.
According to the web site: "The single best way to help Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless is to connect them with VA."
A toll-free hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, 877-4AID-VET, or 877-424-3838.