Veterans Stand Down slated for June at Monterey County Fairgrounds

MONTEREY — The 2022 Monterey County Veterans Stand Down, an event to ensure that homeless veterans in distress on the Central Coast have an opportunity to receive help, is coming up next month providing those individuals with assistance including medical, dental and legal aid.

This year’s event, hosted by the Veterans Transition Center, will be held June 17 and 18, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey. All homeless men, women and veterans with families are welcome.

Last year’s Veterans Stand Down was a one-day event held in Marina, with mask and social-distancing protocols in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The events are traditionally held every two years but organizers are working to make them annual.

This year’s Veterans Stand Down will come close to reflecting past events but will continue to be impacted by the pandemic.

“Due to COVID, this year’s Stand Down is the same as previous Stand Downs, but with one major exception,” said director Thomas Griffin in a press release. “The biggest change is there are no overnights.”

Veterans seeking free legal assistance will have to pre-register before May 31 to be added to the court docket.

“On Day 1, preregistered homeless veterans will receive free legal advice,” said Veterans Transition Center Executive Director Kurt Schake. “On Day 2, they will see a judge.”

Judges can only adjudicate misdemeanors in their home county. A complete list of Veterans Stand Down judges and their counties will not be known until all judges check in.

“Once a homeless person gets all their misdemeanors cleared and that’s all they have, they are then eligible to get a driver’s license,” said Schake. “With that license, they could get a job and then get off the streets.”

Homeless veterans will have access to many other services including dental care. Dentists donate their time to perform duties such as cleanings, cavity filling and even constructing dentures.

In addition, medical doctors will also be available, along with Veterans Administration personnel to help with claims, and veterinary doctors to check on homeless veterans’ pets. Veterans can also tap into employment referrals, discharge upgrades, meet with chaplains and counselors and get help with DD-214, the certificate of release or discharge from active duty reissuance.

All services are free of charge and every veteran will also be able to visit the clothing center for clothes and other accessories as well as hygiene items.

Transportation will be available both days. Pick-up schedules and locations will be available soon.

Veterans are asked to bring documents including identification cards, DD-214, military records, medical records, and any legal papers in the veterans’ possession.

Registration packages can be picked up at the Santa Cruz Veterans Center, Monterey Seaside VA Clinic, Monterey Veterans Service Office, Santa Cruz Memorial Hall, and San Benito Memorial Hall.

The veteran registration form should be printed out, completed and sent to: Veterans Transition Center, 220 12th St., Martinez Hall, Marina, CA 93933.

For more information, contact Marlene at the Veterans Transition Center, 831-883-8387 extension 238 or visit montereystanddown.org.

Contributed by local news sources

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