'Veterans Connect' helping SF homess vets

November 10, 2010 3:09:28 PM PST
Several nonprofits are hosting an event today at the San Francisco VA Downtown Clinic to assist military veterans who live on the streets.

Veterans Connect, which targets the roughly 2,500 homeless veterans in San Francisco, links participants to a variety of services including housing assistance, medical care, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The event, held the day before Thursday's Veterans Day holiday, is a collaboration of Project Homeless Connect, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, the San Francisco Vet Center, Swords to Plowshares and other local nonprofits.

A troop of Brownie Girl Scouts from Marin County showed up this morning and was preparing to distribute clothes to the veterans, said Kevin McCormack, a spokesman for the event.

The organizations are collaborating to help veterans who may be having a hard time adjusting to civilian life get back on their feet quickly.

Veterans can get anything from help with filling out government forms and dealing with legal issues, to a haircut or acupuncture treatment, McCormack said.

"It's a whole array of services that typically, if they accessed them individually, would take two or three months, but they have them all at one site on one day," he said.

A long line was already forming outside the clinic, located at 401 Third St., before Veterans Connect was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., McCormack said. More than 300 veterans are expected to attend. The event ends at 3 p.m.

McCormack said local veterans are grateful for the help.

"Many of them have issues, but don't want to join the rest of the crowd," he said. "This is aimed specifically at them, and they really appreciate it and get a lot out of it."

Mayor Gavin Newsom was expected to stop by this morning.


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