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

Preserving History Through Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ Recipe

The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park exists as a way to remember Florida history… But the workers there are doing something extra to “preserve” memories. WUFT’s Marie Edinger reports.


CMT’s “Gainesville” docu-series will premiere Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. This “coming of age” show will focus on a group of 20-something year old’s as they try to make it on their own. Photo courtesy of CMT

Gainesville Reality Show Set To Air Aug. 20

Country Music Television’s new docu-series “Gainesville” is set to air back-to-back episodes on Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. Some residents are worried that the show will not accurately portray Gainesville.


Midwife Talks About Life Experiences

Former midwife, Glenn Cameron, gives a glimpse into her years as a midwife in the 70s and the challenges the practice presented.


FDOT Cuts Funding For Active Streets

The FDOT cut funding for Gainesville’s Active Streets event, which offers free pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly activities twice per year. The organization and its supporters are trying to overturn the decision and look for new ways to fund the event.


Amanda Norman and two other Grace Marketplace residents wait outside the kitchen doors as it rains heavily. Norman has lived in Dignity Village for more than two months. photo by Thomas Lynn

The Grace Marketplace Debate Over Improvements

Gainesville’s City Commission approved a $585,525 budget for improvements that will make 10 campus buildings at the Empowerment Center livable. Residents and volunteers look forward to the changes, but some are concerned by the nearby chaos at Dignity Village.


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
Underwriting Payments