The annual Veteran Stand Down to help homeless military veterans will move to the Waialua Community Association on the North Shore of Oahu on Friday to try to reach a new group of veterans.
“This has not happened before in this area. They’ve always been in town,” said Erin Rutherford, director of supportive services for veteran families at Catholic Charities Hawaii, which is helping to coordinate the event. “We usually get about 80 to 100 veterans, but I’m more interested in reaching those who truly need to be connected to services, even if we have less people.”
The Stand Down is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.
VETERAN STAND DOWN
Annual event that provides services and supplies to homeless military veterans
>> When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday
>> Where: Waialua Community Association, 66-434 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa
>> Phone: 637-4606
In January’s homeless census, the area from Wahiawa to the North Shore saw a 74 percent increase in its homeless population.
The Point in Time Count did not specifically break out the number of homeless veterans in the area. But overall, Oahu saw a 9 percent increase in its homeless veteran population — to 449 from 413 — compared with the year before. At the same time, the number of homeless veterans across the neighbor islands dropped by 37 percent, to 166 from 257.
Twenty-five organizations will offer a range of services, from haircuts to health care to housing at the event, which is being planned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Catholic Charities, US Vets, the Wounded Warrior Project and the Institute for Human Services, Rutherford said.
Attendees are asked to bring their DD214 discharge form or veteran identification, but Rutherford said no one will be turned away from the free services while their identifications are being verified.
Veterans will even be bused in from town and will receive bus passes to take them wherever they want to go following the Stand Down, Rutherford said.
Rutherford expects to see veterans of all ages representing various U.S. wars.
“We always see such a wide range of ages, conflicts and genders,” she said. “There’s no one particular demographic that overshadows the other.”