SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Veterans Village of San Diego will begin its annual Stand Down event at Roosevelt Middle School for homeless veterans, veterans at risk of homelessness or unemployed.
The 3-day event, which runs from Friday July 29 through Sunday July 31, will provide meals, clothing, access to resources, hygiene items and entertainment.
Akilah Templeton, CEO of Veterans Village, says the event is designed to help those veterans who are in need.
"Stand Down is designed to be a 3-day life changing and transformative experience for our homeless veterans and individuals who are at risk for becoming homeless, but it’s really about bringing our veterans a sense of community," Templeton said.
"This is a safe place... there is no judgment here," Templeton told CBS 8.
"It is really about being able to being our veterans a sense of community," she told CBS 8. "There is hope happening."
Along with hope, there are also signs of progress. The recent "Point in Time" survey carried out by the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness found at least 378 unsheltered veterans throughout the county: overall, a 30 percent decrease in the veteran homeless population compared to 2020, when the number of veterans who have successfully found shelter is factored in.
San Diegan Vandra Lewis is one of the success stories.
The U.S. Navy veteran and grandmother found herself homeless a few years ago, after her mother passed away, and she had to cover the funeral expenses.
"I got so far behind on my bills that I didn't have enough money to pay my rent, so I wound up staying with family members and friends," she told CBS 8, "and I went to Stand Down and I was able to get an apartment, and went from there."
Lewis would like to see the assistance and resources provided by Stand Down extended to non-veterans as well, and asks the larger community to show more compassion.
"Not everybody is on drugs, not everybody is out there just looking for a free handout," she added.
"These people don't have a choice in being homeless, they don't have any place to go, they don't have any money, they don't have any resources," Lewis said.
Stand Down says there will be food donated from many community partners, two nights of overnight shelter and medical services provided by physicians and nurses from the VA and other medical partners.
There will also be legal services including San Diego Homeless Court, and other services including Paul Mitchell School haircuts, American Red Cross comfort kits and VA benefits counseling.
Participants and Volunteers may register for the event here. Same day registration for veteran participants is also accepted.
WATCH RELATED: Veterans Village of San Diego hosts 'Stand Down' event