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‘Stand Down’ provides critical services for Placer County veterans

Volunteers needed for three-day event in Roseville
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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During war, it’s called a Stand Down, when battle-weary soldiers drop fall from the front lines for food, rest and revival.

But now the Stand Down concept is giving veterans a chance to renew themselves with assistance from the community.

The inaugural Placer County Veterans Stand Down event takes place from Tuesday, Sept. 27, to Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville. The free community-based intervention program targets homeless veterans, but all veterans are welcome to attend.

“This is not a handout, this is not charity,” said Placer County Veterans Stand Down President Chaplain Terry Morgan. “This is a hand up. They’ve earned this.”

Based on a count conducted in January, there are 631 homeless people in Placer County. Of those, 63 are veterans — 30 are sheltered and in transition to permanent housing, and 33 are unsheltered.

Stand Down organizers say this number is far less than the national average, but still represents 10 percent of the local homeless population.

During the three-day event, veterans will have access to dental care, eye care and health care screenings for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Hepatitis C and other diseases. They can get haircuts, substance and mental health counseling, and referrals for housing services.

Veteran Affairs representatives will provide information on veteran’s benefits. Organizers will provide clothing, food and shelter. Staff with the Employment Development Department will teach resume writing and tips for conducting a job search.

The ultimate goal is to get homeless veterans off the street and into transitional and permanent housing.

“That’s the bottom line for this,” said Placer County Stand Down board member Lee Arguello.

Organizers have arranged for mobile units for eye, dental and health services, but need medical professionals to staff the units. In total, they need about 200 volunteers per day for the program. Placer County Stand Down has a $25,000 budget, but organizers are asking for donations of clothes, toiletry supplies and money.

The Placer County Fairgrounds is donating the use of its facility for the event. The fairgrounds are located at 800 All America Blvd. in Roseville. For more information, to donate or to pre-register for the event, visit www.placercountyveteranstanddown.org.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.