Volunteers at the 28th annual National Stand Down provided services to 975 homeless veterans, according to Veterans Village of San Diego, which organized the three-day event.
This year also saw higher numbers of women and dependent children in need of help, according to the VVSD.
“Nearly 50 percent of the active-duty military has dependent spouses or children,” said VVSD President and CEO Phil Landis. “It is disappointing, but not surprising, to see more families in the homeless veteran community.”
Nearly 900 were served at last year’s Stand Down.
Homeless veterans and their families receive food, clothing, showers, medical and dental care at Stand Down, and can take advantage of a special court for the homeless, recovery services, employment referrals, counseling and chaplain services.
A count of the region’s homeless in January found that 15.4 percent had once served in the military, out of a total of more than 8,700 people living on the streets or in shelters.
Since the Veterans Village of San Diego started Stand Down in 1988, it has spread around the country — with around 200 events annually, according to the organization.
More than 3,000 volunteers pitched in to help at Stand Down, which took place on the athletic fields at San Diego High School from Friday through Sunday.
—City News Service