The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the City/County Office of Homeless Services and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center will be co-sponsoring a project similar to what veterans organizations call a Stand Down. A Stand Down which takes its name from a military term for a respite from combat is a three-day encampment of services during which homeless veterans and their families are given a safe haven from the streets. Included in these services are food, shelter, clothing, medical treatment, employment assistance and help with alcohol and drug abuse, to name a few.
A Stand Down has taken place annually in San Diego since 1988 and in various other cities across the country, including Long Beach, California; Portland, Oregon; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Rocky Hill, Connecticut and Cincinnati, Ohio. The Stand Down has caught the attention of the media and has been given positive support and coverage.
Cleveland is joining this nationwide effort in the fight against homelessness, but the plan here extends the Stand Down idea a bit further.
Statistics show that veterans make up approximately one-thirds of the homeless populations. Our efforts will reach to include the other two-thirds of the homeless who are non-veterans. Therefore, our project will be a joint effort of the local veterans organization, the local government homeless services and local private offices, all of which homeless people.
The goal is to give any homeless person the chance to access the resources he or she may need to help in their effort of self-sufficiency. We intend not only to make referrals but to provide on-the-spot services in these two days of activity, as well as develop a follow-up program.
The event will take place Friday and Saturday, August 19-20, 1994. Location is yet to be determined. We will need lots of volunteers. Call the coalition office at (216) 241-1104 if you are interested. This is an extremely worthwhile project for our community in addressing the problem of homelessness. Watch for more information in the months to come!
Copyright the Homeless Grapevine and NEOCH, Issue 5, Cleveland Ohio February 1994