What is a Stand Down?

Stand Down represents a unique, community-based response to a human need not being met by traditional means.

The original Stand Down for homeless veterans was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe
retreat for units returning from combat operations. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe
environment. Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.

Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night.

Approximately 12,700 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) were homeless in 2010. The number of young homeless veterans is increasing, but only constitutes 8.8% of the overall homeless veteran population.

Since 1987, VA’s programs for homeless veterans have emphasized collaboration with community service providers to help expand services to more veterans in crisis. This partnership is credited with reducing the number of homeless veterans on any given day by nearly 25% over the last six years.

The purpose of the Stand Down for homeless veterans, and achieving those objectives requires a wide range of support services and
time. The program is successful because it brings these services to one location, making them more accessible to homeless veterans.