COMPTON (CBSLA) – An event that has been held in Compton for years will be held again on Saturday. The Homeless Veterans Stand Down event started at 8 a.m. and was supposed to last until 6 p.m. and was held at 700 Bullis Road in Compton.
Of the many amenities made available to the homeless veterans, this year’s shortlist includes one more option – the COVID-19 vaccination.
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In addition, hot showers, clothes, sleeping bags, backpacks, food, haircuts, and more are offered for the crowd of hundreds of people who are at their 18th birthday.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are to be provided for all attendees in the event, while the team is handing out various Christmas gifts, including gift cards to McDonald’s and some grocery stores.
Information on housing, medical and legal purposes will be made available to participants.
Several event organizers spoke to CBS reporters to discuss the event, including Lestean Johnson with the Compton Chamber of Commerce. “This is important because first of all we should ‘reach you, teach you’. We have homeless people and they are vets. These are people who fought for our country, fought for our freedom. We have a philosophy that we will do this until all homeless vets are off the streets, no matter what city we are in. It is important that we get our vets off the street. ”D
Regarding the variety of services available at the event, Johnson highlighted a few specific groups, including HUD-VASH, one of the VA’s homeless programs that works to provide shelter to the needy.
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“Today we have the DMV on site, they will actually issue ID cards, take the photo and give them ID cards, which is really important because we can’t find them. If the homeless don’t want to be found, you can’t find them, ”Johnson continued. “We have demands from the VA trying to get them into the system. When they join the VA system, some of them will be eligible for benefits. If we can give them advantages, we can get them out. … A lot of non-profit organizations always come together for this special event. ”
The event is being held in partnership with the City of Compton, the Compton Chamber of Commerce, Volunteers of America – Los Angeles, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and Veterans Stand Together, a Torrance nonprofit whose mission is to alleviate homelessness in the United States fight instead of a community of veterans.
It is estimated that of the 40,000 veterans nationwide, 10% live in the Los Angeles area. As the VA continues to fight veterans homelessness, they have taken nearly 7,000 people to permanent shelter with vouchers.
Yet America still has 1 million veterans at risk of homelessness for a variety of reasons, including post-traumatic stress disorder, social isolation, substance abuse, and unemployment.
Veterans make up approximately 10% of the homeless population in the United States.
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Charlie Lonon, affectionately known as “Miss Charlie” years ago, the founder of the event, said the event is still extremely important to her and told reporters, “It is important to me because the young people have come back from service, and they didn’t have a job. They are also homeless and we had to do something for them. So stand down was a good thing and we don’t leave anyone behind. We have to do what we have to do. Get them their benefits so they can get into the VA and get the services they need. “