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. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. This was referred to as a Stand Down.
Today, Stand Down refers to a community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s estimated 107,000 homeless veterans on any given night “combat” life on the streets. Homeless or at-risk veterans are brought together in a single location and are provided access to the community resources needed to focus on improving quality of life.
In the military, Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health, and overall sense of well-being. Today’s Stand Down affords the same opportunity to homeless or at-risk veterans within our community.
Local homeless or at-risk veterans are provided with a broad range of necessities including food, clothing, medical, legal and mental health assistance, job counseling and referrals, and most importantly, companionship and camaraderie. It is a time for the community to connect with the homeless and at-risk veteran population and address this crisis that affects our community.
The event is free to both veterans and service providers.
Chaze Patrick, Co-chair for the event, states "This event focuses on improving the quality of lives for our nation's heroes and connecting them with vital services for the betterment of their lives.”
Megan Dyer, Program Coordinator, ECHO Housing's Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program, and Secretary for the Veteran Committee states, "The goal of this event is to allow our local veterans to access resources they may not even know are available to them and to ultimately end veteran homelessness. By bringing all of the local veteran service providers under one roof, a veteran is easily able to access any services they may need now, or in the future. This event is for homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless. We also want to focus on those that may be at risk of losing their home, unemployed, have financial instability, among other barriers that may result in future homelessness."
The Veteran Committee of Homeless Services Council of Southwest Indiana is the local regional planning council for Southwest Indiana, representing local homeless veterans and community agencies, as well as concerned citizens, dedicated to ending veteran homelessness in our community.