Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NMDWS Veterans Stand Down Project to Benefit Homeless.

Event to Provide Cold Weather Gear
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Veterans Employment and Training Section (VETS), in partnership with the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center (NMVIC) and the Veterans Administration (VA), will host the 2nd Annual Albuquerque Stand Down Project October 17-18, 2008.
The event will take place at the New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers (NMVIC), 6101 Central NE, Albuquerque, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. 
It is estimated that one third of the homeless population in the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County area are Veterans.  The Stand Down Project will serve an estimated 400 to 600 homeless persons. The desired outcome of this event is to prevent homeless deaths during the winter months.
"Stand Down" is a military term originating from times of war when exhausted combat troops were given the opportunity to return to a place of relative security to rest and recover. "Stand Downs" today have become a means to care for and advocate for homeless veterans.  Every day, like the soldier in combat, the homeless veteran must continue to do battle.  His or her enemies often include lack of shelter, unemployment, physical and emotional difficulties, legal difficulties, substance abuse, and hopelessness.
This often creates a self-destructive cycle leading to complete withdrawal from mainstream American society.  To aid homeless veterans in regaining dignity and self-respect, the agencies offer a 'hand up' not a 'hand out'.
During the event the participating agencies will provide services that include but are not limited to:  employment and training counseling, chaplain services, counseling, hot showers, haircuts, substance abuse counseling, medical check up with referral, Veterans Benefits counseling, Human Services counseling (TANF/Food Stamps), personal hygiene kits, cold weather clothing/items, VA/medical ID's, financial counseling, hot meal and sack lunch.  Influenza and pneumonia shots will be provided at no cost.
The Albuquerque Stand Down Project will also be consolidated with the VA Medical Centers "Project Hand Up".  Project Hand Up is an annual outreach event for Albuquerque's þHomeless and near homeless veterans, as well as non-veterans. 
Participating agencies during this event include:  USDOL Veterans Employment and Training Service, Governor's Commission on Disability, NM Division for Vocational Rehabilitation, Commission on the Status of Women, various faith based organizations, Homeless Court System, NM Women Veterans, Native American Veterans Group, Veterans Administration VR&E, VA Medical Center, NM Army National Guard and Reserve, NM Air National Guard, City of Albuquerque, NM Department of Veterans Services, NM Human Services Department, NM Department of African American Affairs, Social Security Administration, Presbyterian Medical Services, and the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

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