City Hosts Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

Hundreds of homeless veterans and community outreach employees flocked to the Third Ward's Emancipation Park this afternoon for the 12th Annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans. Several organizations gathered to offer their services to the veterans, all with the same goal: to help them get their lives back on track.

Johnny Henry, an outreach specialist with the U.S. Vets Initiative, believes that events like this are necessary to ensure homeless veterans know about the resources that are there for them.

"It's amazing to see how veterans, by being informed, can move towards helping themselves by seeking information, because information is how all of this works."

Henry says many homeless vets are unaware of, or apprehensive towards social programs designed to help them. But the homeless veterans who have made use of Stand Down events in the past have seen favorable results.

"The stand down is something that's outstanding for all veterans if you're homeless or not homeless."

That was Jefferey Bolyard. He's a Vietnam War veteran.

"It's stand down for all of us, actually, because you can get a lot of good information here. You can get things done here that you can't get done at the VA itself..."

Bolyard, who's been homeless for the past twelve years, is also a recovering drug addict. He credits Stand Down with helping him get his life together.

"I've gotten my service connected pension started, or my non-service connected pension started, I'm looking forward to getting my social security started through this outfit here, I'm getting HUD-VASH housing, which should come through within the next 45 days to 60 days, so I'm looking forward to having my own apartment."

Over a hundred homeless veterans were at the event, and the City of Houston hopes Stand Down creates even more success stories like Bolyard's.