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Stand Down helps at risk veterans experiencing homelessness

Stand Down was modified to a much smaller event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — An all day event aimed at helping homeless veterans is back again. Stand Down 2021 is an annual Veteran's Village of San Diego (VVSD) signature event for veterans at risk of homelessness or who are unemployed.

The event kicked off Wednesday morning. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Veterans Village of San Diego's main campus. Stand Down was modified to a much smaller event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

It's a one-stop shop for veterans to get access to all kinds of services including legal services, haircuts, and veterinary care for their pets.

"I've been homeless over 10 years," said Ritesh Patel, a Marine Corps veteran. "This place is like home to me. Every time you come here, it's a feeling you get not like any other."

"There are a lot of myths about what contributes to veterans becoming homeless," said Akila Templeton, VVSD's President and CEO.  "A lot of work we do is reducing the stigma. As we've seen over the past two years, all of us are maybe a paycheck or two away from finding ourselves in the same predicament."

In its 33rd year, the event includes a resource fair, appearances by the Padres Friar and the Pad Squad, as well as showers and a library for participants.

For more than 40 years, VVSD has sought to provide services and supports to our nation's heroes. Each year VVSD helps thousands of our most vulnerable veterans to reclaim their lives through programs that offer transitional and permanent housing, mental health counseling, substance use treatment, and employment and training services.

For more information about VVSD, click here.

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