More than 300 attend NH STAND DOWN for Veterans
NASHUA – Last week, Veterans from across the state attended the 17th Annual NH STAND DOWN, a resource and service expo for former service members experiencing homelessness or in need of assistance. The event was hosted by Harbor Care, in partnership with U.S. Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor. More than 40 agencies from across the state participated, offering free supplies, food, haircuts, healthcare referrals, and more.
Special guests included US Rep. Chris Pappas; emcee Josh McElveen; national anthem singer Alan St. Louis; and Kevin Forrest, Director of the Manchester VA Medical Center.
Henry Och, Harbor Care President and CEO, said, “During a stand down troops assemble in a base camp to receive new clothing, hot food, support services, and a relative degree of safety before returning to combat action. This event captured that spirit by connecting veterans with many essential resources. I am very happy to see so many community partners come together to support our military veterans.
Since 2020, the active number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the state hovered between 100 and 120 individuals. In 2023 the number increased to a high of approximately 160 veterans in May. As of September, that number has dropped back down to under 120.
CONGRESSMAN CHRIS PAPPAS
“There is no more sacred promise than the one we as Americans make to those among us who wear the uniform of our country and swear to give everything – up to and including their lives – to defend our freedom and our way of life,” said Congressman Pappas. “Even one veteran without a safe place to sleep at night is one too many, but the hard truth is that far too many of our nation’s heroes lack stable, safe housing. I’ve fought in Congress to increase the number of affordable housing options for veterans, streamline VA’s housing process, provide funds for organizations to rapidly re-house veterans and prevent homelessness, and address the root causes of homelessness. We know there is more to do, but thanks to the tireless efforts of organizations like Harbor Care we have made significant strides in combating veteran homelessness, and we will keep working until every veteran has a safe place to call home.”
KEVIN FORREST, MEDICAL CENTER DIRECTOR, MANCHESTER VA MEDICAL CENTER
“The words ‘homeless’ and ‘veteran’ should not exist together. Events such as today’s STAND DOWN bring all hands-on deck to combat homelessness as one team by improving the quality and speed of delivery of services, decreasing Granite State veteran homelessness.”
For further information, visit www.harborcarenh.org/veterans-first or www.va.gov.