April 2, 2014
BAY PINES, Fla. – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will host a Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event is scheduled to take place in the courtyard located near building 37 at the medical center campus located in Bay Pines.
The event will be held rain or shine and feature wide range of services available for homeless Veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless. Services available will include access to medical care; free meals, toiletries, hot showers and clothing items; VA health care, benefits and housing information; employment assistance and more.
This year, the event will also feature a Stand Down Court. The court will provide an opportunity for Veterans to speak with legal experts from the 6th Judicial Circuit Court, Pinellas County Clerk of Courts, a public defender and others to address outstanding legal issues. In some cases, the court may be able to reduce or dismiss fines or legal fees for Veterans with outstanding active misdemeanor warrants and other legal obligations.
Veterans interested in attending the event should bring a copy of their DD214 "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty," birth certificate, social security card and two documents that can verify their mailing address if readily available. Veterans who currently reside in a shelter are also encouraged to furnish a copy of their shelter statement.
"The brave men and women who served our country with honor and distinction should never be without a place to call home, living without care," said Kris Brown, Associate Director, Bay Pines VAHCS.
"Through events like homeless stand downs and other outreach programs, we are able to partner with community agencies to provide valuable resources to homeless Veterans or those who are at risk. Our aim is to get them back on their feet and to provide them with the care they earned through their military service," she said.
Over the years, the Bay Pines VAHCS has participated in, and hosted, numerous stand down events across the 10-county area the system serves, said Jennifer Sprague, Homeless Veterans Coordinator, Bay Pines VAHCS.
"Stand down events have streamlined Veterans’ access to homeless programs and resources, and reduced barriers to important VA and community resources. Services include mental health, substance abuse treatment, employment, housing, medical and dental, legal, and simple needs such as food, clothing and supplies," she said.
To learn more about the upcoming Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event hosted by the Bay Pines VAHCS, please call 727-398-6661 extension 7552.
This event is open to the media. For media inquiries or advanced information, please call Jason Dangel, Public Affairs Officer, at 727-398-9531, or 727-798-1531.
About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 3,500 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is the fourth busiest VA health care system in the country in terms of patients served and is accredited by The Joint Commission, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and several other nationally recognized accrediting organizations. The Bay Pines VAHCS operates nine facilities to include the main medical center located in Bay Pines and outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring.