South San Francisco, CA May 9, 2017
The San Mateo County Human Services Agency hosted the County’s first Stand Down event for Homeless Veterans. This event attempts to recognize all of San Mateo County’s homeless veterans, and to serve them throughout the day in every way that the county and its generous partners can.
A “Stand Down” is a military term referring to an opportunity to achieve a brief respite from combat. Troops assemble in a base camp to receive new clothing, hot meal, and a relative degree of safety before returning to the front. Today organizations across the country partner with local businesses, government agencies, tribal governments, community, and faith-based service providers to hold Stand Down events for homeless and at-risk for homeless veterans and their families. On May 5, 2017, approximately 150 individuals benefitted from over 50 organizations providing direct services on-site, including medical, dental and mental health services, employment and housing assistance, animal licensing and spay/neuter, criminal record expungement, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services, and distribution of toiletry kits and military surplus items. For their organization of the event, the Human Services Agency was recognized by Congresswoman Jackie Speier. County Supervisor (and Vietnam veteran) Warren Slocum presented a Board Resolution and veteran and County Manager John Maltbie expressed gratitude to the attendees for their military service.
“This event also serves the County’s goal to end veteran homelessness by the end of this calendar year, as part of our effort to end all homelessness by 2020. Because many of the 80+ resident veterans are already connected to the County and our providers, organizers targeted today’s benefits and amenities to their particular needs.” stated Human Services Agency Director Iliana Rodriguez.
Governmental support for this historic event came from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Veterans Administration, and the County’s Measure K. Sponsors included American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Blue Star Moms, Disabled American Veterans, Gen J.C. Breckinridge, American Legion Riders, and Central Peninsula Church.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors established the Veterans Commission in June 2015 with a mission to promote programs and policies that address the unmet needs of veterans in the county. Established in 1946, the San Mateo County Veterans Services Office (CVSO) assists veterans in accessing state and federal benefits that help veterans, their spouses and family members. The CVSO also provides information and referrals to a wide range of services and connects veterans to programs such as the California Veteran College Fee Waiver for veterans and dependents. More information can be found at http://hsa.smcgov.org/veterans