Stand Down Helps Local Vets Back on their Feet
POSTED: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 7:20am
UPDATED: Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 5:38pm
HARLINGEN — Nearly one in five homeless people are veterans...and more than half of all homeless veterans are hispanic or african american.
"What we're trying to do today is focus on locating the veterans that are homeless or having problems with getting any housing or residence. Making them aware of what's available through the VA center," said Angela Perry.
The Rio Grande Valley Homeless Veterans Stand Down was held at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Harlingen this afternoon. Stand downs are efforts by the Veterans Affairs to provide services to veterans without homes.
"We want them to know they can come and talk with us trying to help them in any way possible," said Perry.
VA estimates that over 67,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.
The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 and since then they've been used as an effective tool in reaching out to veterans.
Local agencies from around the valley provided the homeless vets with food, clothing shelter and in some cases, veterans received a haircut.
How does it make you feel to be able to get a haircut?
"Relaxed, comfortable, just getting ready for the memorial day weekend."
The University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences was also on site to provide the vets with manicures as well.
"I've had a pedicure, but never had a manicure...and I like it."
Stand Down members use the time to make a connection with our veterans to make sure they're healthy.
"A lot of times they need some type of counseling, mental health therapy, substance abuse treatment," said Perry.
Perry says these events will be provided on a more regular and frequent basis to make sure they touch on every single homeless vet.