Atlantic City Hosts Event for Homeless VeteransLast Edited:
Veterans received the support that they've earned after nobly serving the country during the second annual Stand Down for homeless veterans event in Atlantic City.
“It’s something that is very important to this community because, for so many communities, folks forget about our veterans and today is a day that veterans are basically put to the front," said Atlantic City Mayor, Frank Gilliam. "They’re allowed to come in, and connect with the various services that they are needed of and more importantly showing love for the dedication and the hard work that they’ve done for our country."
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, roughly 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Throughout the morning and afternoon of Wednesday, May 23rd, veterans were escorted by volunteers around the All Wars Memorial building to learn more about the options they have as a veteran. The veterans had access to tax professionals, legal aid, medical information, housing options, and many other things.
Atlantic City and the American Legion Department of New Jersey partnered up with organizations like Veterans Affairs, The Red Cross, The VFW, Catholic Charities, Disabled American Veterans, and even the Tropicana.
Their goal was to assure not just homeless veterans, but all veterans, that their efforts have been appreciated and they are not forgotten.
“We budgeted for 200 veterans to be here," said Bob Looby, chairman for Employment and Homelessness in the American Legion Department of New Jersey. "We had 130 last year. How many will come through, we don’t know. We’d love to say hopefully less because there are less homeless veterans but we’re not naive. There are more homeless veterans, even national organizations will attest to that."
Breakfast and lunch were available, and if desired, a free haircut as well
Veterans from all over the region, not just Atlantic City, also had access to toiletries and necessities like toothpaste, body wash, and even clothing.
“We, The American Legion and our team, we don’t stop our services at this event," said Looby. "We capture all their names, we capture what they need additional and we will service those needs."
One the last six years, the American Legion Department of New Jersey raised and donated over $1 million to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to help veterans. The mayor and the organization said they plan to continue events like Stand Down to assist homeless veterans transition back into mainstream society.
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