“Handouts are only good for a day, but when they connect to the community, they can begin to rebuild their lives.” Goodwill’s Operation Independence Veteran and Family Development Specialist Wanda Scott Weeks, Charlotte, North Carolina
Weeks is one of a group of city leaders collaborating logistical strategy for the upcoming Homeless Veterans Stand Down. These rallying, roll-up-your-sleeves sessions include representatives from corporations, education, healthcare, housing, employment, veterans services and more.
Veteran Homeless Outlook
City leaders conceded they’re seeing more homeless veterans. “We’re seeing more vets in jail; we’re seeing more vets in the court system,” added Air Force veteran and Mecklenburg County Veteran Service Specialist Joseph D. Rapley. He listed mental illness, homelessness and joblessness as some of the causes.
Substance abuse is another contributing factor said Rapley. “It’s different, now, than it was during the Vietnam War. Back then, it was heroin addiction. Now, it’s prescription drugs.”
“Part of the homeless, people don’t see,” he said, “are those staying with family members or friends.”
Operation Provide Comfort
The Charlotte-area homeless veterans stand down will be held October 11th at the Grady Cole Center. They’re expecting anywhere from 350 to 400 vets.
A variety of services will be offered with the philosophy as a hand up… not a hand out:
- VA registration
Weeks said the Department of Social Services staff are usually dressed in their patriotic colors. “They cut through the red tap and connect them (homeless) to all the services they offer.”
Bank of America’s Connie Baylor said they will be providing volunteers and personal hygiene bags. “It’s a big event for us. We have participated the last three years. We have a lot of people who want to help out.”
Dentists and barbers are needed for this event and any supplies a homeless person could use: hats, coats, backpacks, etc.
Interested in being a corporate sponsor? Contact Mecklenburg County Veteran Services Outreach Supervisor Joseph Rapley at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org.