Help for homeless vets at Tim's Toyota Center today
The Homeless Veteran Stand Down continues in Prescott Valley today at Tim's Toyota Center with more than 300 veterans expected to be in attendance.
The event, designed to connect at-risk and homeless veterans with a variety of services, ends today at 3 p.m.
Prescott resident Paul Campbell, a Vietnam War veteran, called the Stand Down a great resource for veterans in need of assistance. "I'm primarily here to talk to people about my VA benefits," Campbell said.
While this week's Stand Down event counts as his first as a guest, he also worked at one in the past.
"These events can be a big help for a lot of people. You can get legal advice, advice for dealing with benefits - there's a lot of help here," Campbell said.
Fabio Allodoli, a veteran of two tours in Vietnam, spends a lot of his time working with younger veterans. Allodoli is a member of Point Man International Ministries. "This is my first year in Prescott Valley. I have attended the one in Ventura, California. I was a chaplain there and now I am here just trying to help out the veterans," Allodoli said.
The ministry helps veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Currently, the organization operates in 33 states and seven countries across the globe, including Afghanistan.
This week's Arizona Stand Down in Prescott Valley services include housing resources, VA enrollment and eligibility, VA benefits, VA medical and mental health, social security and disability, employment services, DES assistance, and legal assistance. Other services provided during the event include assistance with military records, family assistance, public health, HIV/AIDS screening, treatment and counseling, female services, support group services, pet assistance, showers, haircuts, clothing, food and hygiene supplies.
Overnight stays were provided Tuesday night for many in attendance. To accommodate those who slept at the facility, organizers brought in 50 cots and sleeping bags and screened a movie for entertainment.
Veterans coming to the event today are encouraged to bring a copy of their DD-214 with them in order to expedite the registration process.
Prescott U.S. Vets Operations Manager Skye Biasetti helped organize this week's two-day event. "Our goal is to get (veterans) into housing," Biasetti said. "This event is like many others held across the country to support stopping homelessness amongst veterans. This is the eighth year I've done it here. The goal is that these service providers can break down the barriers to housing and employment through this event and be able to get into long-term and sustainable housing."
Arizona Stand Down is an alliance of community-based organizations that provide annual one- to three-day events for homeless and at-risk veterans to get the resources they need. Stand Downs are held at various locations throughout the state. The hope of the organization is to raise awareness through community and political channels to end veteran homelessness.
For more information, visit www.arizonastanddown.org.
Follow Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier.