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Stand Down for Homeless Veterans (Lafayette)
November 5, 2016 - November 5, 2016
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – On any given night, nearly 50,000 veterans are homeless, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
On Nov. 5, the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, Tippecanoe County and about 75 organizations are collaborating to reduce that number at the annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, which will be held on Nov. 5.
“This is Tippecanoe County’s seventh year holding a Stand Down,” said Martina Sternberg, MFRI’s community mobilization director. “We expect to have about 150 veterans who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless veterans attend, and receive needed resources and services.”
During the Vietnam War, the term “stand down” referred to a time when service members could receive respite from the combat experience, but now it more commonly refers to a community event tailored for homeless and at-risk military personnel, veterans and their families. The events provide these families access to food, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefit counseling, clothing, resume writing assistance and other services.
Sternberg urges the entire community to come out to the event and use it as an opportunity to thank a veteran for his or her service.
“Veterans Day is right around the corner,” she said. “Imagine what an impact it would make on these heroes if you and your family came down and signed the Wall of Honor and expressed your gratitude for their sacrifices.”
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, about 11 percent of the adult homeless population is veterans. They are predominantly male and single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. Reducing homelessness among homeless veterans requires a “coordinated effort that provides secure housing, nutritional meals, basic physical health care, substance abuse care and aftercare, mental health counseling, personal development and empowerment,” the coalition’s website says. Job assessment, training and placement assistance is also key. The Tippecanoe County Stand Down will address all these needs.
Throughout Indiana, MFRI works with a variety of organizations to coordinate Stand Down programs, offering a tool kit to guide planning. In addition to the tool kit, MFRI provides competitive grant funds to help defray costs. This year, MFRI community mobilization grants will support about 20 stand downs across the state.
The Stand Down will take place at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, 1010 Teal Rd. For more information, contact Martina Sternberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.