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u Navy hospital corpsman Lisa Heaton inoculates a veteran against the flu.


u Retired US Air Force veteran Dr. Ben Graham conducts oral exams, looking especially for suspicious lesions. If any are found, follow-up phone calls are made or letters are sent to the veteran.


A Profile of US Homeless Veterans


to nonmilitary groups. The abrupt unavailability of the Albany armory meant that there was no venue for the 2001 event, which at that time was called the Capital District Homeless Veterans Stand Down.


Mion asked Doug Williams, exalted


ruler of the Colonie Lodge, if the Elks would host the event. Williams replied: “Let’s try it.” Since then, the Colonie Lodge has hosted New York State’s largest veterans Stand Down, and Williams has been chairman of the event for ten consecutive years. Although the Elks have provided more volunteers than any other sponsoring organization, the event is coordinated by the Eastern New York State Homeless Veterans Coalition, which was incorporated in 2002 as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization. The organization’s board meets every month, year-round. Officers set the tone for every Stand Down, recruit and train volunteers, and create guidelines for complex legal and medical issues that can arise even on the day of a Stand Down.


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• An estimated 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. About 1.5 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and substandard housing.


• Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era.


• The majority of homeless veterans are single, come from urban areas, and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co- occurring disorders.


—National Coalition for Homeless Veterans


Colonie Lodge Opens Its Doors to Homeless Veterans On October 2, 2010, the lodge’s


ample facilities, including a pavilion on the grounds, were devoted to the Stand Down and were ready to welcome the 365 homeless veterans registered for the tenth annual Stand Down to be held at the Colonie Lodge. Only veterans who had received an honorable discharge from the military were allowed to participate. After a hearty breakfast in the lounge area at the Colonie Lodge, the veterans were invited to visit the forty-one booths in the dining room, which had been


transformed into a setting that resembled a job fair.


Each veteran was given a “bingo


card” that would be stamped by someone in each of the booths the veteran visited. In order to receive the free clothing that was awaiting them in the pavilion after lunch, all veter- ans were required to have their bingo card stamped by attendants from twelve booths. The services provided at the booths included direct help, such as dental and medical attention, as well as details about potential jobs and housing.


Vital information regarding free A P R I L


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