Defending those who have defended our freedom, the 20th Annual El Paso County Homeless Veterans Stand Down took place Tuesday, at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium.
Close to 200 homeless veterans in the community got the chance to connect with employment, housing, and health services, all in one place.
Veterans in need were also given new clothing and flu shots for the coming winter season.
A free breakfast and lunch was provided and it’s all thanks to several local veteran service organizations coming together and working to get these heroes the resources and information they need to get off the streets.
Brian Wess with the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition said, “If you’re living in the barracks and you have your meals, three a day, your focus is on training to kill the enemy. Your focus isn’t on how to live your life and pay bills every day and it’s a completely different skill set that a lot of them, if they go in at 18 or 19 years old, they don’t necessarily get if they haven’t gotten it from their parents growing up.”
Twenty-two year Army veteran Mitchell Littler says it was the fellowship and camaraderie through the VFW that helped pull him out of tough times, which is why he’s been using this event to give back to his fellow vets for the past four years.
“I came close to losing my home a few times. This program was very near and dear to me because of what it has done for the community as well as me giving back to those that had given to me my whole life,” said Littler.
Following the Stand Down, ten homeless veteran families were selected to be part of this year’s Transitional Housing Initiative, where they will be able to stay at the Clarion Hotel on Bijou Street for up to 45 days while participating in an intensive program to reduce barriers to housing and employment.