The 2018 Homeless Veteran Stand Down
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service team had the privilege of serving at the Indianapolis homeless veteran stand down this September. This is an annual event where organizations from around the state join forces in hopes of making an impact on veteran homelessness.
Veteran homelessness is on the rise around our nation. Over the past several years, our nation has made great progress on this issue, but recently, an annual count of homelessness in the United States served as a reminder that the job isn’t done. According to the 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there was a 1.5 percent increase this year in the number of veterans experiencing homelessness. It can be a challenge for veterans to transition back to civilian life after deployment. That is why it’s so important that there are services available to make sure veterans are taken care of after all they have sacrificed for our country.
During the stand down, The Salvation Army worked onsite at the 38th District National Guard Armory to provide hydration, snacks, a comfort kit, and spiritual care. The team provided 334 cold drinks, 707 snacks, and 245 comfort kits to veterans as they received services from local agencies to help move them into more stable living conditions.
The Director of Disaster Services for The Salvation Army’s Indiana Division, Bert Williams, who is a veteran himself shared, “It is a tragedy in our republic that those who have served our country come home and have to face many of the conditions they do such as homelessness.” He went on to say, “The Salvation Army is here to serve everyone, but we have the privilege today of directly serving those who have served us so faithfully.”
Many organizations were present during the stand down to help. They provided services to help the veterans re-apply for social security cards, apply for homeless shelters, receive SNAP benefits, and get access to food and water. The Salvation Army is grateful to play a small part in the events of the day as we all faithfully serve our veterans who have served us.