AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Friday, the VA’s Homeless Program will host Stand Down for Homeless Veterans.
This is a resource fair where the VA provides information, housing support, items like blankets, warm clothes and they are providing a hot lunch to homeless vets who come through.
They will also be screened for eligibility for an VA programs that may help them.
Sabrina Faircloth, supervisory social worker at the VA, said that though veteran homelessness has declined by 11% since 2020, it’s still a problem they are working to solve.
“This past March, all Health Care for Homeless Veterans programs were challenged to house 38 thousand veterans within the year,” she explained. “Augusta has exceeded our portion of this goal. We’re at 140 percent of housing our veterans. We’ve housed 90 veterans in the last 9 months and we continue to house our veterans.”
The event is called Stand Down for Homeless Veterans and there is an interesting reason behind that name.
During the Vietnam War, the Stand Down concept was used to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat. Troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, and get medical and dental care in a safe environment.
This event is modeled after that.
After all the sacrifice our military members make in service to their country, many wonder how so many end up homeless.
Faircloth said there are many reasons so many vets deal with homelessness.
“Sometimes it’s because they are not aware of the resources are available. Our veterans often have a past. They might have some substance use issues or mental health issues. So, our program doesn’t just house veterans. We connect them with those resources and help kind of build that bridge to the services here at the facility.”
The event will take place at the Pavilion behind the VA Hospital on Freedom way from 10 a.m. to noon, Friday, November 18.
Veterans can walk through or drive up. Masks are required and will be provided if needed.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.