Veterans Integration Centers (VIC) to host its annual Stand Down event on Thursday, October 24th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Rock at NoonDay in Albuquerque. Stand Downs are a one- to three-day opportunity to serve those who have served targeted at Veterans who are homeless or low income by providing supplies and services such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, and benefits counseling from a single location. This year’s event hopes to raise $10,000 to support the growing number of homeless Veterans in New Mexico. In 2018, the US HUD estimated a 16.7% increase in the number of homeless Veterans in our state. The organization has received a head start from Kirtland Federal Credit Union. The credit union has pledged to match dollar for dollar every contribution up to $1,500.
“Stand Downs began at the national level as a way to support veterans and their families,” said Bobby Ehrig, Chief Executive Officer of the Veterans Integration Centers. “The VIC expanded our focus to include helping the general homeless in previous years. Last year the community came together to provide support to over 555 individuals including 180 veterans.”
The Stand Down also provides support and access to services including health care, housing solutions, employment, substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling. The event is a collaboration with the local VA Medical Center, other government agencies, and community-based homeless service providers. Collectively the focus is to provide support each year to our nation’s heroes regardless of the barriers they may be encountering.
As the largest homeless event in the state, more than 150 volunteers from various organizations and the community joined the VIC staff for last year’s Stand Down. The goal for the 2019 event is to raise over $10,000 to help the VIC continue to provide services and support to veterans and their families.
“Kirtland Federal Credit Union is honored to participate in helping the Veterans Integration Centers with the 2019 Stand Down,” said Tom Shoemaker, Kirtland Federal Credit Union CEO/President. “Serving those who defend our country, we fully support the VIC and their work with veterans in the state.”
The VIC has championed the Stand Down program and helped launch the effort in five different New Mexico communities (Albuquerque, Farmington, Gallup, Santa Fe, Taos) over the last ten years, empowering other community partners to make the event unique to their communities and needs.
“These Stand Downs provide a one-stop location for veterans and their families to find the assistance they need,” adds Ehrig. “Not only can they find clothing and essential items, we are able to help them immediately connect to the services they need and are entitled to as veterans.”
If you or someone you know is a veteran or family member in need, the Stand Down will be there to help on Thursday, October 24th at The Rock at NoonDay at 2400 2nd St NW in Albuquerque.
Traditional sources of government funding have been drastically cut, increasing the need for those in the community to come together to serve those who have valiantly served our country. More than 90% of donations to the VIC go back to directly support the services provided to veterans and their families.
If you or your organization would like to learn more on how you can help the VIC with the Stand Down program, or to give financially to help fulfill its mission of enabling veterans and their families to achieve stable housing and financial security, call (505) 296-0800 or contact us.