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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Veterans Issues: NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HOMELESS VETS TO GET HELP AT STAND DOWN

Three day event offers food, shelter, clothes and other aide.

Record Searchlight
By: Jim Schultz
via: VA Watchdog/Larry Scott
September 1, 2006

ANDERSON---Homeless north state veterans could get a helping hand Oct.13-15 during "Stand Down 2006" at the Shasta District Fair grounds.

Sponsored by the North Valley Stand Down Association in Redding, the 3-day event is designed to help veterans in need by providing services such as food shelter, clothing and health screenings, as well as VA and Social Security benefits counseling.

It will also provide referrals for other important services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.

The nonprofit group, established earlier this year, estimates there are 2,700 homeless veterans and their families living in the area between Marysville and the Oregon border.

This is the first collaborative stand down planned in Shasta County, but the event has been held throughout the nation, starting in the late 1980s. according to the U.S. Dept. of VA.

The first such event was organized in 1988 by a group of veterans in San Diego, and since then it has been effective in reaching out to homeless veterans, the VA says.

The VA estimates that more than 200,000 veterans and their families were helped by stand downs between 1994 and 2000.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the events are modeled after the stand down concept used in the Vietnam War, which was designed to provide safe retreat for units returning from combat.

Secure base camp areas allowed troops to take showers, obtain clean uniforms, eat warm meals, receive medical care, read their mail and write letters, it said.

Those wishing to donate money or volunteer to help in the upcoming event may do so by contacting the North Valley Stand Down Association, P.O. Box 991088, Redding, CA 96099-1088.

Further information may also be obtained by calling Levin Marshall, veterans representatitve for the state Employment Development Department in Redding, at 225-2194.

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