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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Stand Down aims to aid area’s homeless veterans


Stand Down aims to aid area’s homeless veterans

Answers to questions on everything from housing to employment, education to health care and transportation to retirement issues will be available in the second annual “stand down” for area veterans Wednesday at the Blue Mountain Conference Center and Armory.

Union County Veterans Services Officer Byron Whipple said representatives from a host of local, state and federal agencies, plus veterans’ service organizations, will be on hand to answer questions and explain help available to those who have served the country.

Whipple said the second annual conference is designed as a “one-stop shop” where veterans and their families can access a wide variety of services.

He said it’s a gathering for young and old alike, area veterans who served as long ago as World War II and as recently as the wars in Iraq an Afghanistan.

“I want all veterans in Northeast Oregon to come and see what’s available,” Whipple said. “It’s to let them know how the community supports them by providing services they need.”

Like last year, the event coincides with an annual effort to count homeless veterans in the area. Identifying those veterans helps social services organizations obtain funding to deal with homelessness.

Homeless veterans may find they are eligible for vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and also to access help for related problems.

“For the homeless, it’s one-stop shopping for medical care, mental health care, employment, transportation and the basic necessities they need to live,” Whipple said. 

He said a supply of tents, sleeping bags, boots, clothing, hygiene kits and transportation passes will be available to help homeless veterans in the short term.

“Anyone aware of any homeless veterans in our area, please encourage them to attend,” Whipple said.

Whipple said about 30 organizations are signed up to take part in the event, including the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Walla Walla, Wash., the VA’s local community-based outpatient clinic, the Portland office of VA, Social Security, Worksource Oregon, Northeast Oregon Housing Authority, Community Connection, Eastern Oregon University and Blue Mountain Community College.

Included in the abundant information on health care will be presentations on the VA’s My Health E-Vet program, the VA’s electronic gateway to health services.

“That’s to help veterans transition to the computer age, show them how they can communicate with their doctors and order meds online,” Whipple said.


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