OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Organizers say 200 low-income veterans and veterans who are experiencing homelessness will receive help during the annual ‘Sooner Stand Down’ on Friday.

The “Sooner Stand Down” event is a collaboration among human service organizations and the Oklahoma VA Health Care System.

The event will be held Sept. 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Homeless Alliance’s WestTown Homeless Resource Campus in Oklahoma City, located at 1724 N.W. 4th St.

Organizers say this will be the first ‘Stand Down’ event held in two years due to limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the event, veterans will have access to barbers, vision, dental, mental health, and primary health care services.

Additional services like housing, employment, legal, spiritual, and substance abuse counseling also will be available. Veterans can receive personal hygiene kits, hot meals, sack lunches, and bottled water.

“The Sooner Stand Down allows us to give back to veterans who sacrificed so much for us by providing them with the resources they need in one central location,” said Christine Cleary, Stand Down coordinator and Healthcare for Homeless Veterans social worker with the VA Health Care System in Oklahoma City. “We also look forward to identifying veterans in need of housing at the event and moving them into homes this month.”

While providing resources to homeless veterans, officials with the Homeless Alliance say they are also working to find housing for a dozen veterans this month.

“We continue to make progress in housing veterans. As a community, we’ve been housing an average of 18 veterans each month,” said Meghan Mueller, associate executive director of the Homeless Alliance. “But the housing market is making it more challenging to find rental properties. This is creating an additional hurdle for people trying to end their homelessness and the organizations trying to help.”

Agencies that will be participating in the ‘Stand Down’ event include:

  • VA Health Care System
  • Veteran Benefits Administration
  • Oklahoma State Department of Veterans Affairs
  • American Red Cross
  • Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
  • Social Security Administration
  • Homeless Alliance
  • Department of Human Services
  • Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency
  • Workforce Oklahoma
  • Goodwill Industries SSVF
  • HOPE Community Services
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Upward Transitions
  • Legal Aid
  • Oklahoma City Housing Authority
  • Taxpayer Advocates
  • Red Rock Behavioral Health Services
  • OKC Vet Center
  • North Care
  • Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Oklahoma Dental Foundation
  • Delta Dental of Oklahoma
  • D-Dent
  • OU College of Nursing
  • Catholic Charities
  • Heartline 2-1-1
  • VFW Ladies Auxilliary
  • Soldiers Angels
  • The Oklahoma National Guard 36th Street Barbershop Volunteers of America veterans’ employment program
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Housing Authority
  • Salvation Army
  • Soul Survivor Supporting Living Foundation
  • Caption Call.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that in 2021 there were more than 19,750 veterans who were experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States.