Last week, USVETS hosted a post-event meeting to review the outcomes of the 9th Annual Veterans Stand Down that was held March 21-22, 2012 at the East Las Vegas Senior Community Center.
It was my first visit to the USVETS facilities located at 525 E. Bonanza.Â Shalimar Cabrera, Site Director for USVETS and our host for the meeting, told me that in addition to office space for support staff that provides a wide variety of services for Veterans, they have a dining hall and 140 of the 240 co-located apartments on the premises.Â They will soon have an additional 25 apartments at a new facility located on Sahara Avenue behind the Eureka Casino.
A considerable number of the U.S. Vets housing units are dedicated to â€œtransitionalâ€ Veterans who are re-entering the â€œworking worldâ€, as well as some 19 units which house disabled vets.
About 50 people showed up for the post-event meeting.Â I am becoming more impressed by the day with the number of agencies, programs, and volunteers involved in helping our Veterans.Â Since I started writing for the Bullseye last summer, I have met literally hundreds of people from all walks of life who are giving of their time, talents, and resources for the betterment of Veterans who need help.
The meeting started with the â€œPledge of Allegianceâ€.Â Then Shalimar gave us an overview of the 95-page report, which has not yet been posted.Â A final tally of 619 Veterans attended the event.Â 109 providers assisted them â€“ up from 75 last year.Â We reviewed the report, page by page, on a big screen.Â It was amazingly detailed, Every conceivable statistic was examined, from how many clothing and food items (by type) were given out (5,140) to how many vets took showers (128), went directly into housing (21) or were put on a housing waiting list (139).Â Free dental exams and cleaning were offered and the 10 vets needing exactions got the work done, gratis, at the office of a volunteer dentist.
The participating Veterans were asked to fill out an 83 question survey which would provided important data on the demographics and needs of the Veterans. Â The number one request was â€œdo it more oftenâ€.Â Shalimar regretted that, at least in the near future, this wasnâ€™t possible due to the amount of time and recourses needed to put on a successful Stand Down, which is only one of an entire range of programs she and her staff are involved in.Â So look for the next Stand Down in March 2013.
Those surveyed were unanimous in their praise of how well the event was organized.Â Shalimar noted that in her experience a successful event is the product of two things:Â logistics and program â€“ which is pretty much true about a lot of things, come to think of it.
With information gleaned from the questionnaire one could come up with a pretty accurate profile of a typical Southern Nevada Veteran-age, branch of service, wartime service, race, gender, housing status, family, children, income and etc. This would be an interesting study, and would be a valuable tool to help focus on things of the most concern to our vets.
Shalimar thanked everyone for attending.Â She was particularly effusive in her praise for the many Nellis volunteers, who she described as â€œkey playersâ€ in the success of the event.Â Kudus also went to the Nellis commissary whose food drives helped stock the shelves in the Stand Down Store, sponsored by Goodwill.
If you are in need of some light reading, the full 95-page report will soon be available on-line at www.usvetsinc.org/lasvegas.
But lest we forget, the job is not done yet.Â There are an estimated 1,250 homeless Veterans in Southern Nevada.Â The other million or so of us need to do all we can to get this number down to â€œOâ€.