Boston – IBEW Local 103 hosted the location for this year’s Boston Area Stand Down for homeless and at-risk veterans on Friday, August 22, 2014, at 256 Freeport Street in Dorchester. The event is organized by the US Veterans Administration and Volunteers of America and focuses on assisting homeless veterans and those who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Over 700 homeless veterans attended the event that featured a wide range of specialized services that included medical care, housing assistance, haircuts and eyeglasses. Stand Down is an annual opportunity for homeless and at-risk veterans to access a broad spectrum of services in one location.
“Stand Down” is a military term referring to the brief period of time a soldier leaves an active combat area in order to rest and regain strength. Today, Stand Down refers to a grassroots, community based intervention program designed to help the nation’s homeless veteran population.
“I hit a lot of resources that I needed,” said Chris Falasca, who was a sergeant in the Army and heavy equipment operator. “This is my first year coming to the Stand Down; I have been out of the service for 14 years. Today I realized that there are a lot more housing advocates and employment opportunities out there. Right now, I am unemployed and living in treatment facilities. Here, I met people that will help with my resumes and schooling. It was really good. I got a lot done in one day.”
Michael Monahan, Business Manager, IBEW Local 103, said, ” We were proud to host Stand Down again at our location this year to provide help and services so vital to hundreds of veterans who risked their lives protecting ours. Many of IBEW Local 103 members are veterans and this is another way IBEW Local 103 supports our local veterans.”
“We consider this a hand up, not a hand out,” said Laurie Saren of Attleborogh. She and her husband work on the “Stand Down” organizing committee for the VA. “Stand Down is a military term,” she noted. “It means a soldier can leave a combat zone, go and catch a breather and re-supply. We call this a ‘stand down’ because it is just that, a chance to catch a breather and get a hand up.”