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Governor Rell: ‘Stand Down 2009’ for Veterans Will Be Held September 18

CONTACT: Rich Harris, 860-524-7313
rich.harris@ct.gov

For immediate release
September 4, 2009

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that Connecticut veterans in need will have access to dozens of vital social outreach services during “Stand Down 2009” on Friday, September 18, at the State Veterans Home campus on West Street in Rocky Hill. 

“Veterans and their families face special challenges amid the continuing economic slump – and the ‘Stand Down’ delivers effective, accessible assistance to help needy veterans regain their independence and dignity,” Governor Rell said. “Veterans can get free access to services from more than 40 government and private agencies in one location – everything from medical screenings, social service assistance and legal aid to job counseling and referrals, Veterans Administration benefits information, new clothing and supplies.

 

“We must all work together to repay the debt we owe our veterans – and especially to continue to combat the problems of homelessness among veterans,” the Governor said. “Last year a record 1000 needy veterans participated in Stand Down. I am encouraging veterans’ organizations, social service advocates and public health professionals around the state to reach out to veterans who could benefit from the program and help get them to Rocky Hill on September 18.

 

“Letting homeless and needy veterans know about this special day of assistance and helping with their transportation is essential,” Governor Rell said. “You can make a difference by registering and following up with just one veteran in need.”

 

An estimated 200,000 U.S. veterans are homeless, accounting for about 25 percent to 30 percent of the nation’s total homeless population. The Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs is the largest provider of direct services to homeless veterans in the state, providing residency to a daily average of almost 400 veterans.

 

“Given the current gloomy employment outlook, more and more veterans of all ages are struggling to maintain an acceptable quality of life. Stand Down offers a safe haven for any veteran in need to gain valuable information and assistance,” said Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda S. Schwartz.

 

Needy veterans or their advocates can preregister and receive more information by calling 1-800-550-0000, extension 5831, or by visiting www.ct.gov/ctva. However, pre-registration is not required to attend Stand Down.

 

Free transportation for veterans is available from pick-up locations around the state. Key urban areas to be served include Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, Meriden, New Haven, New London, Norwich, Stamford, Torrington and Waterbury.

 

Organizations and individuals interested in contributing resources or services to Stand Down are asked to contact the DVA at 1-800-550-0000, extension 5826.

 

The DVA, in conjunction with state, federal and private agencies, is the lead sponsor of Stand Down. Supporting state agencies include the Connecticut departments of Banking, Labor, Higher Education, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Motor Vehicles, Public Health, Social Services and Transportation, the Office of the Chief Public Defender and the Judicial Branch. Participating Federal agencies include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Social Security Administration.

 

“People always ask, ‘What can we do to help support our veterans?’” said Governor Rell. “Getting involved in Stand Down is one important way you can help.” 

 “Stand Down” is a term used during the Vietnam War referring to a safe area behind the lines that afforded battle-weary soldiers a place to relax and attend to personal needs such as showers, haircuts, and hot meals. Connecticut began its annual Stand Down program in 1992.


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