Do Something Good: Attend a “Stand Down”

Have you ever attended a “Stand Down?”

Stand Downs are one-to-three day events during which homeless veterans get food, clothing, health screenings, counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment, and substance abuse treatment. 

Often organized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, they are collaborative events, coordinated between local government agencies, local VA centers, and community groups that serve the homeless.

The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam veterans in San Diego, according to the VA. Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless veterans across our nation. More than 200,000 veterans and their family members have been helped between 1994 and 2000.

The events have military roots. During times of war, exhausted combat troops needing time to rest and recover were removed from battlefields to places of relative security and safety. In a similar fashion, Stand Downs are intended to get homeless veterans off the streets for a while and provide them with showers, food, haircuts, clothing and, ideally, permanent housing.

So if you haven’t attended, it’s time you go and give back to veterans who have fallen on hard times.

My staff at Veterans Support Organization has attended many Stand Downs over the years. We’ve donated supplies and helped run events. We have offered jobs to homeless veterans.

For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than assisting a fellow veteran in need.

I encourage you to attend a Stand Down near your community. Do something good for our homeless veterans who have given so much to serving our nation.

More than a 150 Stand Downs are planned every year across our country. Click here to see the list of many of the events.

Richard VanHouten is founder and CEO of Veterans Support Organization. 

Stand Downs
Homeless Veterans
Counseling Services