WUFT News

Homeless veterans event sees growth in services, volunteers

By on September 13th, 2012

By Dana Winter – WUFT-FM

In its eleventh year, the Alachua County Homeless Veterans Stand Down had a new problem to deal with.

“This year we were scrambling to find enough tables for all our service providers and still have tables for our veterans to sit down for lunch,” said Theresa Lowe, the director of the Gainesville/Alachua County Office on Homelessness.

That problem was symptomatic of an event that grows every year. The annual service was held this year in the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center in Gainesville.

The original Stand Down was modeled after the concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations, according to an Alachua Country release.

Multiple non-profit organizations, as well as state and federal agencies, were on hand to offer services and information for the homeless vets.

It wasn’t just those seeking services who attended. Lowe said with the added interest, they needed help setting up. Some veterans, who previously came to the Stand Down event seeking services, now volunteer to give back to it.

“A lot of veterans from the Honor Center and other veteran housing programs are volunteering this year,” she said.

Although there are many homeless programs in Alachua County, this one is targeted primarialy at veterans. The event usually occurs once a year, but Lowe says her office has identified a potential grant to expand services.

One of the orginizations at the Stand Down, the Department of Children and Families are familiar with events like this. Cheryl Twombly, a Department of Children and Families partner liaison, said they want to help as many veterans as possible.

Twombly says they want the application process for programs such as Medicaid to be as simple and quick as possible. Often, the veterans can fill out the applications they need right at the event.

With information all over the Internet, DCF has made itself as accessible as possible. Twombly says educating the community on how DCF can help them is key.

“We’re out all the time,” she said. “We go to different homeless events, we go to children’s events — basically, making sure the community is aware on how to access our programs.”

WUFT’s Web team edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Newnans Lake, shown here near 7400 E. University Ave., in Gainesville, Fla.

Alachua County Receives Florida’s 36th State Forest

The 1,000-plus acres of diverse land west of Newnans Lake in Gainesville will provide bicycle and hiking trails for the public in spring 2015.


The Rerun team prepares 233 shoes to ship to Native American reservations in South Dakota later in December.

Old Shoes Find New Life Thanks to Oak Hall

“We started off as a drop off spot where people could bring old shoes when they bought a new pair, or bring back a defective pair,” Carillo said. “It grew more and more through word of mouth, and now people know to bring their shoes to us.”


A Bread of the Mighty Food Bank employee stocks the warehouse shelves with dry food donated by a local grocery.

Florida Food Banks Suffer As State Grant Runs Out

As the number of food insecure households rise, local food banks see a rapid decline in food supply from Florida’s government grant program.


Students and community members line up outside Gate 1 of the O’Connell Center.

GALLERY: Protest Held At O’Connell In Response to Police Actions

Demonstrators from the University of Florida Dream Defenders and UF Students for a Democratic Society protested for two hours outside of the O’Connell Center on Friday in response to the police actions in Ferguson and New York that lead to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.


Emergency personnel work after the fatal crash on Friday night.

Gainesville Mayor In Twitter Debate Over Northwest 8th Avenue

Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy entered a heated debate over Northwest 8th Avenue with unhappy community members on Twitter.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments