• Veterans Stand Down helps hundreds of homeless vets, more help Friday

    By: John Knicely

    Updated:

    The recent One Night Count in King County found about 3,000 veterans living on the streets, and those veterans are exactly who the Seattle Veterans Stand Down aims to help.

    The event at South Seattle College’s Georgetown campus connects veterans with crucial services like dental care, and it connects them with long term help like housing and work opportunities.

    “We also want to attack the systemic things contributing to homelessness,” said Jaime Yslas, a Seattle Stand Down organizer and Navy veteran. “That's why you see all these service providers here. We don't just want to be a hand out, we want to be a hand up.”

    Yslas pointed out how important it is that the volunteers and the veterans wear name tags.

    “We address them by name,” said Yslas.

    “If someone lives on the street they're homeless, they're invisible, we look past them. We don't make eye contact.

    This day, they exist.”

    The event runs Thursday and Friday and is open to all veterans, not just those in King County.

    All you need is your DD214 or some proof of service.

    Services are available Thursday until 4 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    “They introduced me to a homeless program for veterans,” said Matthew Miller.

    “And that's how I fell into it just by chance.”

    Miller, a Navy veteran who served in Desert Storm, told KIRO 7 that a lot of veterans aren’t aware of what services are available to them.

    “You have to already know that you're eligible for stuff, which is kind of sad because there are a lot of benefits out there that other veterans don't know about unless they come to Stand Downs or talk to fellow veterans going through the same things,” Miller said.

    The Veterans Stand Down brings all those services to one place.

    The Department of Defense gave them $100,000 worth of backpacks, sleeping bags and gear to give to veterans.

    Organizers said there will be plenty to give away on Friday.

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