DAV, community partners assist homeless veterans and their families
The annual DAV Homeless Veterans Stand Down was in full swing Oct. 4, as more than 250 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families from the Tri-State area gathered at DAV National Headquarters in Cold Spring, Ky.
“One of the big reasons for this event is to talk about the resources here that are available to our veterans and why they are so important,” said National Commander Butch Whitehead. “These resources are vital to help veterans to continue their missions and have great lives, and we could not do it without the support of the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. They really do a lot of work behind the scenes to make this event so impactful.”
More than 40 agencies and organizations were on hand providing no-cost services and access to resources to address immediate and long-term needs. Veterans received free flu shots and other immunizations, haircuts, legal assistance, social services, benefits support, employment counseling, health care screenings and care bags.
“It’s great to see all of our community partners here working together,” said Cincinnati VA Medical Center Director Mark Murdock, a DAV member of Chapter 63 in Cincinnati. “It’s wonderful how all of our partners come together and use their resources to tie it all together. It brings us a common purpose—to help meet the needs of our homeless veterans.
“These veterans raised their hands to support and defend our country, so we have an obligation to make sure they have the lives they should have,” Murdock added. “We are here to help them fight those battles.”
On top of the previously mentioned resources, a couple of new and vital additions were made to the stand down this year.
“We were able to hold a career fair with nearly 25 employers present, and thanks to StandUp Wireless, we were able to provide some free cellphones to those who most needed them,” said National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst.
“Each and every one of us who have worn our nation’s uniform has had to travel the road back to the lives we knew before the military,” said Whitehead. Sometimes that journey takes some surprising detours. There can be bumps along the way. From time to time we feel like the destination is far beyond our grasp. But what we do here at DAV, along with our wonderful partners in the community, is ensure that no veteran travels down that road alone.”
“Each year, we see fewer veterans at this event, which shows our efforts, along with our partners and the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, are working well,” said Kleindienst. “But one homeless veteran is too many. DAV is here to provide a lifetime of support for veterans, and we’ll keep working toward the goal of ending veteran homelessness.”