Basic needs we take for granted everyday were offered to veterans for free on Saturday as part of the Boise Veteran Affairs Homeless Veterans Stand Down.
“We bring together a lot of different resources and benefits that are available to veterans and we try to put it all in one place for a one-stop shop for vets who are in need of help,” Josh Callihan with Boise VA Medical Center said.
Veterans were offered showers, haircuts, food and health screenings at no cost. The event is offered for homeless veterans or those who have the risk of becoming homeless.
Hundreds stopped by and received a toiletry kit packed full of fresh necessities like soap, tissues and toothbrushes. Veterans could also take home backpacks, boots and clothing to help survive through the colder months.
“A lot of veterans don’t have the means to go get a new sleeping bag, so being able to get that from the military to be able to provide that to a veteran who’s going to be sleeping outside during the winter time, a lot of these guys that are sleeping on and off the streets, the winter time in Idaho would be very cold,” Callihan said. “So having socks, gear, things like that to help them out really makes a big difference in their life.”
Social workers with Boise Veteran Affairs say the toughest task for them is to find housing for veterans with potential credit problems or criminal histories.
“There are a number of veterans that are in the homeless shelters that have the ability to pay for an apartment or a house, but we just don’t have landlords that are willing to work with us at this point,” social worker Sarah Kearney said.
The stand down event featured VA employees discussing housing options available for Boise veteran, as well as Department of Labor workers to discuss potential job opportunities.
For any landlords interested in working with the VA, an informational meeting will be held on December 5th.