SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The Salisbury VA Medical Center is presenting its first Homeless Veteran Stand Down May 21 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Registration for Veterans will take place in the Building 6 Gymnasium and services will be provided in several locations on campus.
The Stand Down will provide homeless Veterans a chance to spend a day receiving care and information about housing assistance, community resources, meals, medical care, social activities, personal hygiene care, clothing and applying for Veteran benefits. More than 30 community agencies that support the homeless will be available to provide a variety of services.
All Veterans are invited to attend the stand down, but only those who are identified as homeless, or are in dire need, will receive Department of Defense military surplus items. These include boots, pants, shirts, sleeping bags, duffle bags, etc.
Jennifer Herb, Director of Healthcare for the Homeless Veterans program, said the stand down will provide services to the homeless Veteran population in the local area who may not have been able to travel to other stand downs.
"We've always had stand downs in our community locations, to include Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Charlotte and Hickory, but we have never focused on a stand down here in Rowan County and the surrounding areas," she said.
She said that besides physical services, she hopes those served will gain an understanding that moral support is also available.
"I think the biggest take away from stand downs is the comradery. We want our homeless Veterans to be able to walk away from a stand down feeling that they are important, we care about them," Herb said. "We want to make sure they are getting the services that they deserve and that they have a clear understanding that we want to help them with whatever homeless or other situation they're struggling with."
Herb added, the stand down can also benefit VA employees by providing them with knowledge.
"It will also be an opportunity for VA employees here to empower themselves by learning more about the services that are useful for homeless Veterans so that they can refer them during day-to-day contact during appointments," she said.
The Salisbury VA Medical Center homeless Veterans program is located in Building 11 and provides services from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Homeless Veterans can be referred to the program whether they are enrolled or not, and they will see a homeless outreach worker or social worker.
Any Veteran who is homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, can call (877) 424-3838 or (877) 4AID-VET for help.