The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is holding its first ever “Stand Down” outreach event in Southeast Alaska, Friday and Saturday at Juneau’s Centennial Hall.
“Stand Down” events are designed to provide services to veterans, especially homeless vets and vets in need. The Juneau event will feature information about VA services, as well as thirteen local nonprofits and Native groups.
“Having VA staff and programs, and community programs, ultimately provides a better package for the veterans,” says Marcia Hoffman-DeVoe, a spokeswoman for the Alaska VA Healthcare System. “So that, we’re working with the agencies here in the community to do those transitions between what we can provide and what the community agency can provide.”
Hoffman-DeVoe says VA “Stand Down” events take place nationwide. Anchorage has hosted them for more than 25 years and Fairbanks for more than a decade. Barrow held the first one in rural Alaska last fall. She hopes the Southeast “Stand Down” will become a regular event.
“There are 77,000 veterans in the State of Alaska. I just checked the 2010 Census figures again, and Alaska continues to have the highest number of veterans per capita at 14 percent of our population. About 10 percent of those veterans live in Southeast Alaska,” Hoffman-DeVoe says.
Non-VA partners in the “Stand Down” event include the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, the Tlingit and Haida Central Council, Front Street Clinic and Southeast Senior Services.
In addition to health care and housing services, veterans who attend the event can get used clothing, blankets and sheets through the U.S. Defense Re-Utilization Office.
The event will be held Friday from to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Centennial Hall. Lunch will be provided.
For more information on the program, Hoffman-DeVoe will be on a Juneau Afternoon Thursday at 3 p.m. on KTOO.