The blistering Texas heat did not deter the Houston community and Department of Veterans Affairs from coming together on Sept. 8 in Emancipation Park to hold a one-stop resource event for more than 550 Veterans.
The 30th annual Veterans Stand Down connected Veterans with employment opportunities, resources from VA and almost 90 community organizations, as well as assistance for homeless Veterans such as housing options, furniture, food, clothing, hygiene products and haircuts.
“Resources for homeless Veterans are a central area of focus for the Stand Down,” said Robert Birdow, a Houston VA social worker and Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Program Manager. “But we also recognized we had the opportunity to reach other Veterans who were looking for resources and did so this year by opening the event to all Veterans.”
In addition to homeless resources, staff from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston VA Regional Office and National Cemetery Administration were on-site to provide assistance with health care enrollment, disability claims, toxic exposure screenings and PACT Act claims assistance, and information about mental health, suicide prevention, peer support, women Veterans, LGBTQ+, caregiver support, VA cemeteries and more.
Serving Veterans is not something VA can do alone, and fortunately the Houston area is brimming with many organizations committed to Veterans.
“It’s an honor to partner with the city of Houston and so many great organizations for this extraordinary event,” said Birdow. “As a result of our combined efforts, we were able to connect 556 Veterans with needed housing assistance and other valuable resources. Without the community’s support and dedication to helping Veterans, the Stand-Down wouldn’t have been as successful.”