In times of war, combat units were removed from the battlefield to a place of relative security and safety to rest and recuperate. This recovery model inspired Vietnam veterans Robert Van Keuren and Dr. Jon Nachison to develop the first Stand Down in 1988 with the support of Vietnam Veterans of San Diego. Now in its 25th year, this event remains a grassroots, community-based intervention where homeless veterans are brought together in a single location to access community resources and supplies needed to begin addressing their individual problems and rebuilding their lives.
- Provide immediate short-term relief from the trauma and stress of homelessness and a safe haven for a short period;
- Bring services and assistance into the field directly to the homeless veteran; provide access to short term services and assistance such as food and clothing;
- Provide access to longer-term solutions such as VA and social services benefits;
- To build strong long term interagency and volunteer community working relationships;
- To raise local and national awareness of the plight of homeless veterans with the hope of increasing community involvement;
- Start the healing process by returning selfrespect to a lost segment of our nation’s veteran’s population;
- To encourage replication of the program in other cities across the United States.
Veterans Helping Veterans
In 2010, over 190 independent Stand Down events served over 52,000 veterans and family members. Over 27,000 volunteers participated in these events, providing services, logistics support, and companionship. Department of Labor-Veterans Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS) provided funding for 81 events in 2010 to help facilitate employment readiness and connectivity to employment and training services. DOL-VETS’ financial support is a critical component of Stand Down events and is the only Federal program devoted exclusively to supporting these initiatives in the community.