On Saturday, January 27, 2018, the National Association of American Veterans (NAAV) participated in its fourteenth year of helping homeless and at-risk Veterans of the greater DC metropolitan area at the DC VA Medical Center’s (VAMC) Winterhaven Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, along with collaborative partners representing agencies, organizations and volunteers. Attendance numbers indicate that 840 Veterans consisting of 755 males and 65 females received services at the 24th Annual VAMC event.
The National Association of American Veterans (NAAV) Inc., was not only positioned, but poised to serve alongside a team of dedicated Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), including but not limited to the Veterans Affairs, Disabled American Veterans, American Legions, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who NAAV partners and campaigns with on numerous occasions and events.
The 24th Annual Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down was met with the same elation and commitment to service by hundreds of others and attributed to NAAV’s 14th year of participation. This year, NAAV secured its familiar spot in a corner room of the Orange Section delivering a steady stream of assistance with claims and benefits, safe-link wireless phone applications, free information booklets, and special gifts for Veteran attendees.
Although one of featured highlights at this most recent VAMC annual homeless stand down event was captured with a showing of how much the homeless veteran community means to those who serve the mighty men and women of the military and their family members.
“For the first time, in the history of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Winterhaven/Stand Down, on Saturday, January 27, 2018, the Honorable Pamela H. Patenaude, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary was the highest ranking HUD Official to attend, and participate in, the 24th Annual Winterhaven/Stand Down for Homeless Veterans and their families.”
Two photos below feature more of the enthusiastic highlights from veteran supporters such as the “Honorable Pamela H .Patenaude, including the Honorable David J. Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), The American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones, and Marvin Turner, Director of the HUD District of Columbia Office/National Capital Area Office.”
What’s more, during this event, the VAMC provided medical services, clothing, shoes, winter blankets, coats, as well as assistance with claims and benefits, housing, psychological services, legal and nutritional counseling, women’s health, general metro transportation, employment, health screenings, personal care items, and distributed vouchers for thrift store clothing. It is also reported that Veterans received haircuts, educated on HIV and risk reduction, rapid oral HIV test, while hundreds of volunteers, staff, and community partners provided their unique services to all Veterans in attendance at Saturday’s event.
Homeless, low-income, and economically disadvantaged male and female Veterans, and their families residing in the Washington metropolitan area also participated in this year’s event. NAAV routinely supports HUD and our housing partners in their effort to improve the quality of life for homeless male and female Veterans and their families. Meeting the challenges of homelessness is a top priority among our partners.
In addition, the Veterans Affinity Group (VAG) distributed an estimated 1,056 pairs of new boots/shoes to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Community Resources and Referral Center (CRRC) located at 1500 Franklin Street, NW, Washington, DC 20018. The center is one of 17 facilities in the VA opened nationwide to help eliminate homelessness among male and female economically disadvantaged Veterans. The CRRC is open 24/7 to assist Veterans and their family members and provide services to homeless and at-risk Veterans, and also includes a Primary Care Clinic, a complete kitchen, laundry, shower facilities, a food pantry and a play room for children, as well as a host of other community services.
This annual Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down event is an occasion NAAV has been proud to serve and participate in over the past thirteen years. One noticeable difference, we didn’t have snow nor very cold weather this year like many others past.
As a full day event, the Winterhaven program was intended to not only shine the light on homelessness among the DC metropolitan veteran population, but also roll out assistance in a multitude of ways to pursue actions towards helping wipe out the pains of homelessness in America. This 24th annual event was no different from the many previous years other than to show that the commitment to serve and support our American veterans and their family members is still a challenge yet compassionate display of how we as a community and country can join together and a stark reminder that there is still so much more to do!
Please keep your donations, prayers, volunteering of your time and services counted towards our efforts to help refresh and reshape the lives of our Veterans men, women, and their families. There is truly a need out there to support our nation’s Veterans, those who gave so much.
A special thanks to Constance A. Burns, CEO, President and Veterans’ Service Officer, NAAV, Inc., and NAAV Supporters Lola and Charlie Johnson for their continued support and professional assistance on behalf of the National Association of American Veterans, Inc. and those we serve. Thank you for supporting NAAV and helping us to accomplish our mission step by step and day by day.
CEO & President
Constance A. Burns