Nov. 7 Stand Down event set to support veterans

October 29, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – On any given night in America, nearly 50,000 veterans are homeless, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Working with organizations across the state, the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University is working to reduce that number by coordinating Stand Down events.

"During the Vietnam War, the term referred to a time when you could have respite and recover from the combat experience," said Martina Sternberg, MFRI's community mobilization director. "Now it more commonly refers to an event hosted by communities across the country to give military personnel, veterans and their families a chance to access help with housing, job placement and health care."

On the national level, key agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, help lead Stand Down events. According to the VA, about 12 percent of the adult homeless population is veterans. These homeless veterans are predominantly male, single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders.

In Indiana, MFRI works with a variety of organizations to coordinate Stand Down programs, offering toolkits to guide planning and grant funds to help defray costs. This year, MFRI community grants supported 17 Stand Downs across the state. At these events, homeless or at-risk veterans and their families can receive food, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefit counseling, clothing, resume writing assistance and other services.

"Indiana communities are really stepping up this year and making a difference in these veterans' lives," Sternberg said. "Volunteers play a vital role in planning, supporting and delivering stand down services."

This year's Stand Down in Lafayette is scheduled for Nov. 7 at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, 1010 Teal Road. For more information, contact Martina Sternberg at

Contact: Beth Johnson, director of External Relations, Military Family Research Institute, 703-927-7429, 

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