SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Overton Brooks VA Medical Center held its annual veteran’s VA Stand Down event.
The parking lot was filled with vendors and partners providing services and resources to homeless veterans.
There were medical units as well as tables providing clothing, food, haircuts, gear, and other community resources.
Partner agencies in attendance include Volunteers of America, Supportive Services for Veteran Families, Social Security Administration, Bos-Man’s Barber, Barber College, the Elle Foundation, Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex, and the Bossier and Caddo Councils on Aging.
“We partner with other organizations to go out and provide outreach into the community, to find veterans in the community, and let them know what type of services that we can provide because not a one person can do it. But collectively as a community, we can do it together,” said James Ross, Coordinator Intraspecialist Social Worker at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center.
Many veterans, especially those facing homelessness, left the event with food and bags of supplies. Two items that were especially helpful were wallets and toiletries.
“We have different hygienic kits, some of them are focused more on the women, which is good, we do have a lot of the women veterans come through. And of course, we’re going to help and work with them, as you’ve seen today, we’ve got some young people with small children walking through,” said Linda Resendez, Occupational Therapist at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center.
The center says that homelessness can impact anyone, but events like this build community.
“You’re sitting in the chair, and it allows a veteran to talk about their service that they provided for our country and then also the connectedness with the barbering and also we’re feeding. We’re providing hamburgers and hot dogs, so they’re grilling, we’re talking, sitting down socializing, and fellowship and love,” said Ross.
Overton Brooks VA Medical Center is a community resource and referral center, one of 33 in the nation. CRRCs support veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with access to “community-based, multiagency services to promote permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and access to VA and non-VA benefits.”
“We’re pretty much like a one-stop shop. You come in, we do what you call a triage. If you need supplies, we’re going to try to make that happen. Scarfs, hygienic products, a lot of different things, food, we always keep the coffee pot on,” said Resendez.