The 5th Annual Inland Empire Veteran Stand Down was held at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif. The Stand Down addressed Veterans’ needs in the Inland Empire, an area with more than 190,000 Veterans residing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The Inland Empire CVEB Chair, CEO of Reaching New Heights Foundation and retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Greg Coker, stated, “The Inland Empire Veterans Stand Down is an opportunity for us to show an appreciation for our Veterans and give back to those who sacrificed so much for this country.”
The Stand Down provided:
- hygiene items
- VA Enrollment in healthcare
- VA claims processing
- pet services
- employment opportunities
- legal services
- public health support
- Department of Motor Vehicles assistance
- Social Security support
- dental services
- Veterans Court
- military records
- support groups
- counseling services
Since its inception, the Inland Empire Veteran Stand Down has improved outcomes for Veterans, their families, caregivers, and providers. Reaching a functional zero for Veteran homelessness was its chief milestone in Riverside County.
The Stand Down is an example of a successful collaborative effort with VA, Salvation Army, Reaching New Heights Foundation and community stakeholders. Over 35 organizations provided services to more than 200 Veterans in different stages of need. Veterans received VA Welcome Kits and other information about support services. Additionally, there were 50 encounters with Veterans, who reported a 95% positive experience with VA.
The partnership between VA Loma Linda, County Veterans Service Office, Veteran Treatment Court, Social Workers, Stand Down, and the Point in Time Count have been key to successfully addressing the needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness.
The event succeeded in meeting most of the Veterans’ needs. For those concerns that could not be addressed at Stand Down, the Stand Down referred Veterans to organizations who could assist with those concerns. Some Veterans even had the opportunity to attend a Veterans Court where judges dismissed citations and fines based on compliance with the law.
Eric Faulkner joined the United States Navy in 1987 and served for 27 years. He is currently a management analyst for the Veterans Experience Office.