Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, along with community partners Palmetto Goodwill and Palmetto Warrior Connection, will host the 19th Annual Stand Down Against Veteran Homelessness this Friday, Oct. 19 from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
The free event will be held at Charleston VA’s dedicated service facility for homeless Veterans, the Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC), located at 2424 City Hall Lane in North Charleston.
“The goal of Stand Down is to outreach to Veterans in our community who are battling homelessness and offer them the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Charleston VAMC Director of Mental Health Dr. Hugh Myrick. “It’s also key in getting our homeless or at-risk Veterans familiar with the CRRC as a place where they can receive year-round services from VA and community agencies.”
Stand Down will offer Veterans hot meals, haircuts, clothing, health screenings, flu shots, rapid HIV testing and the ability to speak to VA staff for health care needs including women’s health, suicide prevention, mental health, dental services, chaplain services, VA eligibility and enrollment, stroke prevention, legal counseling and more. Job assistance and opportunities to speak with local employers will be available for those seeking work.
Transportation to the Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) will be provided from 0ne80 Place, Joseph Floyd Manor and Neighborhood House on Oct. 19 beginning at 7:00 a.m. Vans will return to each location by 4:00 p.m.
Last year, Charleston’s Stand Down Against Veteran Homelessness event assisted 237 homeless persons, 200 of whom were Veterans. Similar events were also held earlier this year in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Hinesville, Georgia, communities with support from local VA outpatient clinics and the main Charleston medical center.
“Our VA, and the agency as a whole, is focused on reaching and assisting homeless or struggling Veterans,” said Charleston VAMC Director and CEO Scott Isaacks. “We believe that every Veteran deserves a safe place to rest their head and we’re committed to reaching those Veterans, in all of the communities we serve, who may not yet be connected with VA or know what we have to offer.”
The CRRC’s daily mission is to connect homeless Veterans with critical services such as housing assistance, transition care management, eligibility and more.
In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, Charleston VAMC’s homeless program issued their entire yearly allotments of 649 HUD-VASH vouchers to Veterans needing stable, affordable housing. The HUD-VASH Program combines the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans and their families with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. For 2019, Charleston VAMC was issued seven new vouchers in the City of Charleston, eight new vouchers in Beaufort, and nine new vouchers in Myrtle Beach, totaling $143,297 in additional HUD-VASH funding to house Veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is the only Federal agency that provides substantial hands-on assistance directly to homeless persons. The mission is considered essential for VA as the agency strives to eliminate homelessness amongst those who have served our nation.
For more information about Charleston VA’s Stand Down Against Veteran Homelessness, including a list of needed donation items, visit www.charleston.va.gov/standdown/.