Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
VA, Community Hold Homeless Veteran Stand Down
The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVHCS) partnered with more than 50 community organizations to hold a Stand Down for Homeless Veterans on Sept. 10 at First United Methodist Church in Tulsa.
A total of 259 Veterans and 62 non-Veterans attended the event, which gave them the opportunity to receive food, clothing, haircuts, health screenings, laundry/showers, and learn about employment and housing resources.
The Stand Down is a critical part of Tulsa's commitment to the Zero:2016 initiative, a national campaign to end veteran homelessness and chronic homelessness. EOVHCS is one 24 organizations in Tulsa that have partnered for Zero:2016, which has the goal to provide housing for every homeless Veteran.
“The Stand Down is a vital community outreach event that offers a range of basic services, and ensures that Veterans are equipped with resources to either prevent or end homelessness,” said Melanie Goldman, EOVHCS Homeless Program Coordinator. “The Stand Down offers Veterans a one-stop shop opportunity to gather essential resources.”
Coast Guard Veteran Marvin Long attended the Stand Down and said clothing was one of the top priorities on his wish list.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Long. “I think it’s a great service. There’s a lot of clothing that I needed and they seemed to have provided that for me.”
The Stand Down would not have been a success without the nearly 400 volunteers who donated their time. Wendy Thompson, a barber student at Clary Sage, provided free haircuts to Veterans and said she simply wanted to give back to Veterans.
“The Veterans have sacrificed so much for our freedom, so the least I can do is give up a Saturday morning to give them haircuts and make them feel better about themselves,” said Thompson.
Navy Veteran Salina Ogg, a nursing student at Tulsa Community College, volunteered her time to give health screenings to Veterans.
Ogg said VA has provided excellent care and services to her in the past and wanted to assist VA in helping other Veterans.
“The VA has helped me immensely,” said Ogg. “I’m offering my services because I love to give back. As a Veteran, that’s important, and also as a nurse, it’s important to provide care that the Veterans obviously need.”