Rep. Napolitano Stands Up for Heroes in the Shadows
Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano joined the San Gabriel Valley Veterans Employment Committee, the Vet Hunters Project, and other community volunteers in welcoming veterans to the 2nd Annual San Gabriel Valley Homeless Veteran Stand Down at Whittier Narrows Park in South El Monte.
“This is what is called coming together to help our families,” Napolitano said. “We all have relatives, friends, neighbors who have made tremendous sacrifices for our country and deserve our respect and our service to them.”
The U.S. Army Reserve is providing hygiene and housing facilities throughout the 3-day event. Volunteers from the San Gabriel Valley community along with federal and state agencies, employers, training institutions, and over 100 service providers are offering medical care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, housing assistance, legal counsel, employment services, meals, and many other services.
“The enthusiasm here is overwhelming and to see all of this come together is unbelievable,” said Mellanie Villarreal, Executive Director of the Vet Hunters Project. “The Stand Down brings awareness to our heroes in the shadows, and by Sunday we hope to have many of our homeless heroes housed.”
“I am happy that this Stand Down is taking place, but I am sad that this type of problem is ongoing,” said Jose Ramos of Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans.
According to the Regional Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Los Angeles County has approximately 8,100 homeless veterans, 6-8% of which are female. Napolitano thanked the nearly 500 veterans in attendance for coming to the event, encouraged them to register with the VA, and pointed out the importance of seeking mental health services.
“We must ensure that our veterans not only get services for Post-Traumatic Stress but also for Traumatic Brain Injury to treat the invisible wounds of war,” said Napolitano, Co-Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus. “We will continue to fight for funding to provide the services that all our brave men and women and their families have earned.”
National Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
Press 1 to connect with the Veterans Hotline
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