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Veterans connect with resources at annual Stand Down event

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The number of homeless veterans in our area is falling, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency says it’s because they’re doing a better job with connecting veterans with the resources they need.

Larry Stewart was airborne and air assault in the Army in the early 1980’s and says he was proud to serve.

“It meant a lot,” Stewart said. “I’ve got brothers that didn’t serve; I feel like maybe I was serving for them.”

But Stewart eventually encountered a different battle: homelessness. Struggling, like nearly 40,000 other veterans, to just get through the day. Stewart didn’t have the help all of the folks in these tents are offering today.

“A lot of people care; I didn’t know so many people cared,” Stewart said. “Actually, the resource center is the one that set me up with an apartment and did all the contacts they had to do to get me there.”

Wednesday’s 10th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down in Huntington connected more than 200 veterans and their families with a diverse number of VA as well as community resources.

Tammy Miller is the program coordinator for homeless veterans with the VA. She says it’s critical to locate homeless veterans and get them the help they need.

“If you know someone that’s homeless or struggling with their housing needs let us know so that we can link them up to the resources that they need,” Miller said.

For veterans who can’t live alone and don’t want to go to a nursing home the VA provides a resource called the Medical Foster Home Program where veterans can live with their caregivers. Veterans could also get help with housing options, health resources like prescriptions, personal hygiene and even clothing. This event was all about offering assistance.

“They help anybody,” Stewart said. “If you’re a veteran and you’re down this is the place to come.”

You can find resources on the Hershel Woody Williams VA Medical Center’s website.

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