Stand Down 2004 -- A Hand Up, Not a Handout

[Photo 1: veterans saluting]

This year marked the 13th year for Alaska's annual STAND DOWN event for homeless military veterans. The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development's Anchorage Field Office has helped plan and participate in the event for twelve years. One hundred ninety-eight veterans registered for the two-day event, held August 13 and 14 at Camp Carroll in Fort Richardson, Alaska.

STAND DOWN is a nationwide program that improves the delivery of services to homeless and near-homeless veterans by coordinating existing fragmented human services systems. By bringing together all public and private services in one place, STAND DOWN events provide information and assistance homeless veterans need to transition from the streets and shelters back into their community as full contributing members.

STAND DOWN provides access to basic health, legal, financial, housing, employment, training and social services. Information is readily available about veterans' benefits for which people might be eligible, and representatives from veterans' service organizations are on site. STAND DOWN is targeted to serve all veterans of the armed services and their families, regardless of their eligibility for specific veterans' benefits.

The veterans at STAND DOWN have been in extended combat - not only overseas, but in our social environment. They came for help with health care, housing, even a hot shower and a haircut.

Staff from the Anchorage Field Office have served on the STAND DOWN steering committee since the committee's inception in August 1993. HUD staff work with other local housing partners to provide information and access to housing resources in the community. This year's effort resulted in 23 veterans filing applications for Section 8 Rental Assistance. An additional 50 veterans were provided lists of HUD-assisted rental projects and instruction on qualification and the application process for assistance.

STAND DOWN is not the ultimate solution for homelessness, but it is the critical first step for many homeless veterans. This event provides for the immediate needs of those veterans, while also providing access to more sustaining and permanent solutions to their needs. It will not solve all the problems, but it will provide some solutions. "A hand up - not a handout"!


Content Archived: August 15, 2011