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One day program celebrates 25 years of helping homeless vets

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An annual event is celebrating 25 years of assisting homeless veterans around the Delaware Valley.

The event is known as Delaware Valley Veterans Stand Down 2019 and chairman Jerry Jonas says it’s “a hand up, not a hand out.”

He says this one day only event will be offering services, such as medical help and enrollment in safety net services, helping homeless vets get back on their feet.

“There are a lot of homeless veterans in the area, probably well over 1,000 of them walking the streets of Philadelphia,” he said. “Quite a few thousand of them on a national basis.”

He says there are a lot of reasons why veterans might become homeless:

“Some of them have had medical problems, some of them have PTSD,” he explained. “There are others that have picked up habits that are drug related and so forth. There are just so many variables.”

At the Philadelphia Delaware Valley Stand Down, food, haircuts, legal assistance and medical services will be offered by volunteers.

“They get a complete medical checkup,” he said. “If there are things that are seriously wrong with them, sometimes they’re treated on the spot; other times they have to come back with appointments and so forth.”

Stand Down, Jonas says, is an annual event run by veterans for veterans. He says they go to homeless shelters to let people know about it and they have sites from which they bus them in.

“We’ve had over the years an average of 300-400 veterans come in for these events,” he said. “Our peak, I think one year, was well over 600 homeless veterans.”

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