Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in partnership with Palmetto Goodwill and Palmetto Warrior Connection will hold its 20th Annual Stand Down Against Veteran Homelessness on Friday, Oct. 18 at the VA Community Resource and Referral Center, 2424 City Hall Lane, North Charleston, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The event will offer medical screenings and assistance, clothing, food, haircuts, and legal counseling for hundreds of homeless Veterans in the greater Charleston area. Job assistance and opportunities to speak with local employers will be available for those seeking work. The focus of the event is on Veterans who are living on the streets or close to it. The goal is to get Veterans the resources they need to get back on their feet and set the foundation for a successful future.
“Our annual Stand Down event is an important way to reach Veterans facing homelessness, but we want to ensure that Veterans know we are available to help throughout the year,” said Charleston VAMC Director of Mental Health Dr. Hugh Myrick. “Our Community Resource and Referral Center is open year-round. At this location, VA and community services are offered side-by-side to give wrap-around services for Veterans in need, so they can quickly get on the road to stable housing and quality health care.”
In fiscal year 2019, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center issued 671 HUD-VASH vouchers along the South Carolina and Georgia coast, utilizing their entire allotment of vouchers. That is 22 more vouchers allotted than in fiscal year 2018. The HUD-VASH Program combines the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans and their families with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. For 2020, the cities of Beaufort, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia have requested additional vouchers. Additionally, for the first time Hinesville, Georgia’s Housing Authority has requested vouchers. Each of these cities lies within the catchment area of Charleston VAMC and it is expected that each of these areas will receive some additional housing vouchers to assist Veterans in need.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is the only Federal agency that provides substantial hands-on assistance directly to homeless persons. The mission is considered essential for VA as they strive to eliminate homelessness amongst those who have served our nation.