For one weekend this month, hundreds of volunteers will come together and help veterans break out of the cycle of homelessness.
Now on its 20th year, Ventura County Stand Down will take place July 20, 21 and 22, at the California Army National Guard Armory in Ventura.
Veterans in the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles will participate this year.
The grassroots, community-based intervention program was designed to help homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets.
The Stand Down philosophy is carried out through the work of hundreds of volunteers and organizations who truly demonstrate the American spirit of volunteerism on behalf of veterans who are homeless.
They demonstrate that ordinary people can do extraordinary things in assisting veterans become productive citizens of the community.
Rep. Elton Gallegly, Congressman has been honorary co-chair of this event for 20 consecutive years.
During the three-day, two-night effort, veterans will live on campus in military-style tents erected by the Seabees and have access to shower facilities, toiletries, new and used clean clothing, hot meals, etc. each day.
Working in conjunction with dozens of public and private agencies, Stand Down 2012 will provide homeless veterans with a myriad of services such as medical treatment, legal services, prescription lenses, employment counseling and referrals, VA benefits, drug and alcohol counseling, general relief information, transitional housing information, along with a range of other government and social services.
In addition, a Superior Court will be held on Friday afternoon, July 20, where veterans will be given an opportunity to adjudicate their pending legal cases before a volunteer judge who, in lieu of fine or jail time, order veterans to participate in community service at the Stand Down site.
One of the many success stories of Stand Down are those veterans who were once homeless and then return year after year as volunteers to assist their fellow veterans.
Claire Hope, founder and executive chairperson for 20 consecutive years, is a 17-year resident of Camarillo whose father was a WWII veteran. Her husband is also a WWII and Korean veteran and her son is a Persian Gulf veteran.
Veterans who pre-register at various social service agencies can facilitate their entrance into the Stand Down event.
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