Last weekend, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) joined the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Volunteers of America and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs hosted the 2013 Massachusetts Stand Down against homelessness at Dorchester’s International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 103. Over 1,000 veterans hosted homeless and at-risk veterans attended to receive free support services including basic quality of life services, medical assistance, and information qualifying for social services.
Stand Downs, which take place all over the country, offer free services such as food, clothes, housing, legal, vocational, medical, dental and mental health care, voting registration, and access to VA and Commonwealth benefits. The Department of Veterans’ Services attended and assisted the veterans in connecting with state resources they may be eligible for in the long term.
Free shuttles, provided by MBTA, Free Work Inc, and the VA, transported veterans to the Stand Down. Shuttles ran throughout the day from the Ruggles, Andrew, and JFK/UMass train stations, and the Brockton and Jamaica Plain VA campuses.
The first stand down was organized in San Diego in 1988 by a group of Vietnam veterans that saw a growing number of homeless veterans. Stand Downs have since become a vital outreach tool for the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and other government and local agencies that support veterans. Between 1994 and 2000, Stand Downs reached and provided support to over 200,000 veterans and their families.
This weekend was no exception. Stand Downs are a fresh start for the veterans that attend, and DVS is proud to be a part of it.
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