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Stand Down aims to help homeless veterans

TUCSON – In active military service, a Stand Down is a necessary break from combat.

A local organization is holding its own Stand Down to help homeless and at-risk veterans.

During the event, veterans and their families can connect with resources to help them get back on their feet.

Tucson Veterans Serving Veterans says there are roughly 270 homeless veterans in Tucson.

This event is ultimately a one-stop-shop to help them with everything from personal hygiene to housing to a job.

“Ten years ago, I was homeless and living in the Gospel Rescue Mission,” said Cliff Wade.

Wade went to a Stand Down event years ago and it is what got him out of homelessness. Now, he is chairman of Tucson Veterans Serving Veterans, the non-profit that has been hosting this event since 2003.

“We’ve been averaging about 75 percent of those veterans who are homeless that come to this event are housed within about 120 days,” said Wade. “So our work, this is working.”

The Stand Down is a two-day event for homeless or low-income veterans. They will be housed in a hotel for two days.

Day one is a job fair with around 75 employers. The second day is a resource fair with more than 80 providers. Everything from pet care to personal hygiene to medical check-ups will be offered. There will be meals served on both days.

“We have a very good success rate,” said Bruce Hamilton, Event Coordinator with Tucson Veterans Serving Veterans. “When these guys come out of here, probably a third of these guys will be housed probably within the first month. Then we start losing track of them when they go on. But this is a very valuable event because it actually pulls them in and gives them a chance to get with the community partners, and gives them a chance to get healthcare and get their feet looked at.”

Hamilton says he encourages all veterans to show up for the event just to talk with each other and normalize the struggles veterans deal with.

“Well, I tell you what, it’s a systemic problem and not just homeless veterans, but homeless in general,” said Hamilton. “There’s a lot of us that take heart when we see these guys on the streets because that’s a brother or a sister that doesn’t need to be out there.”

Tuesday is the final set up day and then it starts on Wednesday.

They can still use some volunteers, so anyone who wants to volunteer can go HERE to sign up.

They can also still use donations. Anyone can drop off clothing, personal hygiene, or grocery items on Tuesday. Anyone can drop them off at the Grand Lux Hotel on Grant Road and Interstate 10 where the event will take place.

Kendra Hall

Kendra Hall

Kendra Hall is a reporter for KVOA News 4 Tucson Today.
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