YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – More than 55% of homeless people are the men and women who served our country.
That’s why the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission hosted its first Stand Down Day Saturday. It was an event to help our vets.
Veterans lined up at the commission offices at Oakhill Renaissance Place for food kits, information on housing assistance and even haircuts.
Vietnam veteran David Williams appreciates the services he receives from local and regional V.A. medical facilities. “When I had my first stroke, and heart attack, the V.A. was there,” says Williams.
Although Williams accepts help, some don’t. “A lot of them don’t want to come in because their pride is too much and they don’t want to come in and ask for help,” says Susan Skrzynski, executive director of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission.
Skrzynski says when they deny help, it leads to more vets on the streets.
Homeless Outreach Coordinator, Robert Marcus says it’s hard to tell how many homeless veterans we have here in the Mahoning Valley because some are evicted or living with family or friends. “To try to get specific numbers, it’s difficult. If I had to say, in my four county area, we probably have about 150.”
And sometimes it takes veterans to reach the point of homelessness to realize they need help. But Marcus believes it’s his job to make sure he is always reaching out to them. “And that’s why we have a program like this, ya know if there are any homeless veterans out there or any veteran out there, we try to get them established.”
Although Stand Down events are held all over the country, this is Youngstown’s first.
People say there are still not enough services in the Valley to help vets.