Third-annual Seattle Stand Down gives “hand up” to homeless veterans
SEATTLE — More than 400 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families will be offered a “hand up” at the third-annual Seattle Stand Down on the campus of Seattle Central Community College. The community-driven event – staffed by over 100 volunteers — brings together local businesses, non-profits, educational institutions and government agencies to provide comprehensive resources and support services, including medical screenings, eye exams, dental services, legal aid, employment opportunities, housing assistance, haircuts, personal hygiene items, hot meals, and much more.
“It’s a one-stop shop to help the men and women who have served our country so honorably,” said Rebecca Murch, executive director of the Stand Down and a U.S. Navy veteran. “This is a way for us to give back to those veterans who need a little help to get back on their feet.”
The Stand Down will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Seattle Central’s campus. Services and resources will be provided at the Mitchell Activity Center, 1718 Broadway, with additional services for women offered at the Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway. Free parking will be available in the Harvard Garage at the corner of E. Pine and Harvard. Limited shuttle transportation for veterans to Seattle Central from downtown Seattle will be provided by the King County Emergency Service Patrol.
Although homelessness among veterans has declined nationally by over 17 percent since 2009, an estimated 796 veterans still lacked adequate shelter in the Seattle/King County Area last year, according to the latest homeless assessment report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Veterans were more likely to experience homelessness locally than non-veterans, accounting for 11.4 percent of the adult homeless population. In 2012, the Seattle Stand Down provided services to nearly 350 homeless and at-risk homeless veterans in need.
Addressing the unique needs of Women Warriors
The number of female veterans identified as homeless by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) increased at more than three times the rate of male homeless veterans between 2006 and 2010. Female veterans are also not adequately represented in homeless counts and face additional barriers that limit their access to housing and other resources.
The Seattle Stand Down is unique from other stand down events in that it has a separate area designated for women where they can feel safe and comfortable. Some of the providers offering services specifically for women veterans include: the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau; Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Counselors; New Beginnings (domestic violence advocates), Seattle Indian Health Board, Sisterhood of Veterans, Carol Milgard Breast Center, Safe Homes , Operation Moving Forward, and many others. Hair styling and manicures will be provided.
Community-Driven Response to Veterans in Need
Over 80 service providers will be on hand during the event to connect veterans to essential social services, medical screenings, employment opportunities, veteran benefits, hygiene items, and warm clothing in anticipation of the Seattle winter. A hot meal will be provided by FareStart, which provides culinary training to homeless and low-income individuals.
The Seattle Stand Down will be partnering with the Compassion Games (www.compassiongames.org), which aims to “make our communities safer, kinder, more just, and better places to live.”
Other key community partners include Seattle Central Community College, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, King County Veterans Program, United Way, One Less Mountain, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Major funding has been made possible through the Veterans Employment and Training Service grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Seattle Theatre Group (STG) continues to support our veterans by providing 10% of tickets sales of select shows through the 2013-14 season to the Seattle Stand Down.
Led by Student Veterans
The Seattle Stand Down is coordinated and led by student veterans who believe in never giving up on the men and women who were willing to give up everything in service to their county. These student veterans represent Seattle Central Community College, South Seattle Community College, North Seattle Community College, Seattle University, and the University of Washington.
How you can help: For organizations, individuals, or agencies interested in making tax-deductible donations, providing services, or volunteering, please visit www.theseattlestanddown.com or email Rebecca Murch, executive director of the Seattle Stand Down, at firstname.lastname@example.org.