A Hand Up - Not A Hand Out

This past Friday, I had the priviledge of assisting long time Bird TLC volunteer Wayne Rush in an eagle release at the 2005 Veterans Stand Down at Camp Carrol. Bird TLC supports this excellent event every year with a release. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best for a big turn out, but none the less the event is always a success as long as one veteran gets on the right track.

STAND DOWN is a nationwide program that improves the delivery of services to homeless and near-homeless veterans by coordinating existing human services systems. By bringing together all public and private services in one place, STAND DOWN events provide information and assistance homeless veterans need to transition from the streets and shelters back into their community as full contributing members.

STAND DOWN provides access to basic health, legal, financial, housing, employment, training and social services. Information is readily available about veterans' benefits for which people might be eligible, and representatives from veterans' service organizations are on site. STAND DOWN is targeted to serve all veterans of the armed services and their families, regardless of their eligibility for specific veterans' benefits.

The veterans at STAND DOWN have been in extended combat - not only overseas, but in our social environment. They came for help with health care, housing, even a hot shower and a haircut.

Staff from the Anchorage Field Office have served on the STAND DOWN steering committee since the committee's inception in August 1993. HUD staff work with other local housing partners to provide information and access to housing resources in the community. There were several veterans filing applications for Section 8 Rental Assistance. Additionally, many veterans were provided lists of HUD-assisted rental projects and instruction on qualification and the application process for assistance.

STAND DOWN is not the ultimate solution for homelessness, but it is the critical first step for many homeless veterans. This event provides for the immediate needs of those veterans, while also providing access to more sustaining and permanent solutions to their needs. It will not solve all the problems, but it will provide some solutions. "A hand up - not a handout"!

Thanks to Britt Coon for the pictures! Also, young Henry Morse got to see his first eagle release at age 7 days.