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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

 

Bay Pines VAHCS to host Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

March 16, 2015

BAY PINES, Fla. – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will host a Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  The event will take place in the courtyard located between buildings 2 and 37 at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.

The event will be held rain or shine and feature a 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; benefits and housing information; and employment assistance.

Again this this year, the event will 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. Last year, nearly 400 Veterans attended the Stand Down. Sixty of those Veterans were assisted by the court. 

Veterans interested in attending Stand Down 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. Veterans who currently reside in a shelter are also encouraged to furnish a copy of their shelter statement. Veterans who cannot furnish documentation are still encouraged to attend and will be provided assistance.

“We have a commitment to provide as much support and assistance as possible to the brave men and women who served our nation,” said Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS. “These same men and women should never be without a place to call home or living without care and support.”

“Through events like our annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, and other outreach efforts across southwest Florida, we are able to partner with community advocates and agencies to help homeless Veterans and those at risk. Our collective goal is to provide a system of support which includes housing, medical care, legal assistance, job training and more while honoring military service and empowering health,” she said.

Over the years, the Bay Pines VAHCS has participated in, and hosted, numerous stand down events across the 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.

In 2014, the Bay Pines VAHCS housed nearly 1,390 Veterans due to homeless outreach activities, programs and services and collaborations with partners inside and outside the federal government. 

To learn more about the upcoming Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, please call 727-398-6661 extension 17552.

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 3,800 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.