Moreno Valley Corps helps links vets to services
Twenty-six veterans placed in permanent housing at a recent event
The Salvation Army Moreno Valley Corps partnered with Riverside County Department of Veterans Services to host the Riverside Area Veterans’ Expo (RAVE) and Veteran’s Stand Down at the United States Army Reserve Armory and Training Center in Riverside on April 21.
“It’s a wonderful chance to spread the word that there’s great resources for veterans,” said Corps Officer Lt. David Cain.
The Riverside Transit Agency offered free rides on all fixed-route buses between 4 a.m. and 6 p.m. for veterans, active duty service members and their families with appropriate identification attending the event.
At the RAVE, veterans had the opportunity to meet with regional stakeholders and agencies that specialize in veterans assistance programs and services such as Veterans Affairs (VA) enrollment and disability claims, Veterans Court, Social Security, the Department of Motorized Vehicles (DMV), public health, family services and access to their military records.
“It’s so much bigger than [just] any one corps can take on and it really necessitated some good community partnerships,” Cain said.
Veterans could receive printed ID cards from the DMV on the spot. A full medical team provided check ups and treated veterans in need. Veterans received dental exams looking for signs of disease and other problems. A veterans court held at the event allowed veterans to seek to consolidate and dismiss charges held against them.
Veterans also received housing assistance, free medical and dental services, the opportunity to shower and receive haircuts, personal hygiene supplies, some clothing items, food, pet services, support groups and counseling. At the end of the day, 26 homeless veterans received permanent housing.
“Because we got to compile so many services on the day of, it was really a blast just to see all these things in action and to give services that were tangible and good,” Cain said.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans models their “Stand Down” outreach after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. In these designated areas, troops could take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment.