Stand Down Count Down

South Florida

Homeless Veterans Stand Down

During the three-day event, Robert King High Park 7025 West Flagler, Miami Fl took on a military atmosphere as tents and cots were set up for homeless veterans, who lived and slept on the property through the weekend. Veterans who were living on the streets or who did not have permanent housing received free access to showers, food, clothing, medical services, legal and mental health services, and job counseling. Most importantly, though, they received companionship and camaraderie.

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SOUTH FLORIDA HOMELESS VETERANS STAND DOWN AFTER ACTION SUMMARY REPORT

April 30 – May 3, 2015

DESCRIPTION: The Florida Veterans Foundation in partnership with the City of Miami and with assistance from over 100 other community agencies conducted a Homeless Veterans Stand Down from April 30th to May 3, 2015 at Robert King Park in the City of Miami. The main objective of the 4 day and 3 nights “Stand Down” was to assist homeless veterans in the Tri-County Region (Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties) with getting them off the streets and into some form of housing. Other objectives included:

  • Medical/Dental Treatment
  • Employment Services
  • Legal Services
  • AA/NA Services
  • Faith Based Services
  • Clothing Services
  • Case Management Services
  • Behavior Health Services
  • Claims preparation/processing Services
  • Veterans Court

SUMMARY: 22 planning meetings were conducted which started in October 2014 culminating with the final planning meeting on April 22, 2015. Ground breaking for “Camp Hope” began on April 27, 2015 with the erection of 12 tents and the setup of support activities which included, latrines, showers, stage, feeding area, command center, veterans court, supply center, distribution center, registration processing center, parking area, and equipment staging site. More than 800 volunteers participated throughout the Stand Down along with 124 agencies from the local community.

The Florida Veterans Foundation raised more than $120,000 dollars and received support property from Operation New Hope which provided $80,000 dollars’ worth of supplies and equipment, from US Southern Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) which provided $66,000 dollars’ worth of supplies and equipment and from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) which provided $20,000 dollars’ worth of supplies (mainly toiletry items).

Of significance during this Stand Down was the fact that all homeless veterans that attended the Stand Down were offered housing and/or placement opportunities. No homeless veteran was returned to the streets at the conclusion of the Stand Down and all were afforded/placed in some form of lodging.

The following statistics are the official results of this year’s Stand Down.

  • Number of Homeless Veterans Registered: 255
    • Females: 13
    • Family Members 26 –
    • Service Animals: 1 2
    • Number of Housing Referrals: 143 –
  • SSVF: 83
    • Homeless Trust 13 –
    • HUD VASH: 9 –
    • GDP: 20 –
    • Shelter: 18
  • Number of Claims Filed: 25
  • Veterans Court:
  • Total Cases: 241
    • Traffic/Parking 153
    • Misdemeanor: 62
    • Felony: 26
    • DMV Services: 29
    • Sealing/Expungement: 11
    • Child Support Services: 5
  • Military Ministry: 150
  • Altercations resolved: 6
  • Medical/Dental Cases: 55
  • Number of Services Provided: 165
  • Optometry Cases: 42
  • Meals Served: 3800
  • Haircuts: 130
  • In-Kind Supplies and Services: $336,000.00 –
    • US Southern Command: $66,000.00 –
    • DNVF: $20,000.00 –
    • Operation New Hope: $80,000.00 –
    • City of Miami: $150,000.00 –
    • 841st Engineers: $20,000.00
    • Dollars Raised: $121,198.00
  • TOTAL: $457,198.00

TESTIMONIALS:

“I have attended 2 prior Stand Downs but I have never seen one with so much support and caring from the community. It makes me feel that my service in the Army was not in vain. I had issues with getting my driver’s license and thanks to this Stand Down I’m able to get it and start to move forward. God Bless all of those that have taken the time to help me and my comrades. And thank you for all the items they provided, the back packs and the toiletry items are great.”    Jonathan Graves, US Army Veteran

“I didn’t know what to expect when they asked to come to this Stand Down. I have been out on the streets for a long time and it’s always the same. People tell you that they want to help you but at the end is the same old thing, just talk. But when I came here and the military ministry team reached out to me and made me feel that I mattered it made me feel like maybe this time things would be different. They gave me encouragement and made me start believing in myself again. They stayed with me all weekend and helped me take care of some medical issues that I’ve had for a while. I was truly amazed at some of the health and comfort packages they gave us, especially the ones that were provided by the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), wow! So many items. That will last me a month or two. Thank you all for caring about me.” Steven Hernandez, US Marine Veteran

“ I came here with my three girls, I had served in the Air Force and due to economic hardship I found myself staying from place to place and sometimes stayed in my car with my girls. I came here to the Stand Down with the goal of getting a place. I can’t keep jumping from place to place I need a home for me and my babies. The oldest is now 12 and she needs a stable home. My two younger ones also need a place to call their home. I’m so blessed that I came and have met so many wonderful people that have helped me and my girls. They have really made me feel at home and have worked with me to get a place. I know that things will start turning around for me once I get into a stable place. Thank you Stand Down personnel for giving me an opportunity.” Wanda Jones, US Air Force Veteran

Stand Down is a time for the community to connect with our homeless veterans and to begin to break down the barriers that are keeping these heroes on the streets. The “hand up, not a handout” philosophy of Stand Down requires the work of countless volunteers, businesses, and local, state and national organizations.

“Stand Down” began in San Diego in 1988. Twenty-five years later, that organization has celebrated many successes, and was featured in 2010 on “60 Minutes.” There are now more than 200 Stand Downs throughout the country.

The South Florida Stand Down Provides the Following to Qualified Homeless Veterans During the Stand Down at No Charge

  • Two nights of sleeping accommodations
  • Three days of hot meals
  • Permanent Housing Assessment
  • Clothing provided
  • Hot showers and clean clothes
  • Haircuts men/women’s hair styling
  • Dental examinations
  • Healthcare screenings and prescriptions
  • Infectious diseases screening/testing
  • Vision examinations
  • Hearing and glucose testing
  • Pharmacy services
  • 12 Step and PTSD/TBI Counseling
  • Military Sexual Trauma counseling
  • Medical appointment referrals
  • Medicaid applications
  • Military personnel records check
  • Veterans Service Officer Assistance
  • VA Disability Claims processing
  • Legal Counsel and/or Veterans Court
  • Bicycle raffle
  • Employment applications, counseling and resume’ assistance
  • State Photo ID cards (Need Birth Certificate and Social Security Card)
  • Birth Certificates applications
  • Social Security Benefits (Food Stamps, SSI & Disability)
  • Voter Registration
  • Personal care items
  • Various gift cards
  • Veterinary services/Pet therapy
  • Evening Entertainment
  • Free bus rides for homeless veterans
  • Veterans children day care

Only   Homeless Veterans and their families who are living on the streets or who do not have permanent housing will be qualified appropriately by the Veterans Affairs (VA) for free access. Veteran status must be verified by the VA, by presenting a VA Card or DD-214 with government issued photo ID. If not pre-registered with the VA, you must register and be certified by the VA as being homeless in order to be eligible for benefits the day(s) of the event. It is recommended that homeless veterans pre-register to expedite processing on the day they arrive at the Stand Down: May 1-3, 2015. Please submit your application no later than April 24, 2015. To pre-register print the application, complete and return to: