Homeless Vets

Courtesy of EPCHVC

Lucas Wilson, Staff Writer

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The Colorado Springs Homeless Veterans Stand Down, is a program for homeless veterans in the El Paso County area. Stand Down is “an intensive one-day community-based intervention program” according to the sponsor, the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition (EPCHVC) organization.  Stand Down is a term used in the military to describe a time set aside to keep people safe and the Stand Down does this by making sure homeless veterans are safe for the winter.  Members of the Coalition include the Springs Rescue Mission, Rocky Mountain Human Services, the Veterans Administration, the Salvation Army, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion; Motorcycle groups like Vets4Vets (American Legion Riders, Combat Vets, Special Forces MC, Veterans MC, VFW Warriors); DAR, DAV, El Paso County Veterans Services, State of Colorado, Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center, and Veteran Resources Initiative.  The Coalition’s Transitional Housing Initiative (THI) helps house up to 7 veteran families for 30 days at the Clarion Inn in Colorado Springs and then works towards placing vets into permanent homes and helps them find jobs.  The THI identifies veterans and their families at the Stand Down who may need their help.  The Coalition’s dedicated work is to help the vets throughout the year with “a hand up not a hand out.”

At the first Stand Down in 1988, 109 veterans were helped in San Diego, California.  By 2009, 42 thousand vets were given assistance across the United States.

In Colorado Springs the EPCHVC served 194 vets in 2013; 154 vets in 2014; 243 vets in 2015, and 196 vets in 2016.  In 2017, on October 17th, 2017, the EPCHVC expects to serve 180 veterans. Volunteers give homeless veterans clothes, haircuts, flu shots, blankets, backpacks, winter jackets, hats, shelter options, dental and hearing checks, medical referrals, and provides them with a breakfast and lunch. No homeless vets will be turned away.

Stand Down depends on an all-volunteer community to provide the needs of homeless vets. Every community has unique services and items at the Stand Down, depending on the needs of local veterans.  Volunteers are always accepted.  People can sign up to volunteer at The EPCHVC website: http://www.epchvc.org/index.html.  Donations to assist with the Stand Down and THI can be sent to: El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition, P.O. Box 1841, Colorado Springs, CO 80901. They are a 501c (3) organization and contributions are tax deductible.

 

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