Stand Down Saturday to assist Manatee homeless veterans

vmannix@bradenton.comApril 18, 2013 

MANATEE -- There will be a 2013 Stand Down Saturday in Sarasota for homeless veterans who need a hand up.

A host of services will be available from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sarasota County Health Department, 2200 Ringling Blvd., and nearby Payne Park Auditorium.

More than 20 organizations are participating, according to Chip Taylor, director of the Operation Military Assistance Program, a federally funded program initiated by Jewish Family & Children's Service of Sarasota-Manatee Inc.

"Veterans can get anything from job counseling to a haircut to assistance with a budget to financial benefits they may be eligible for through the VA," he said.

Manatee homeless veterans can get free MCAT and SCAT bus passes to reach the event by seeing John Smith, veterans services liaison at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center, 701 17th Ave. W., Bradenton.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the phone number is 941-747-1331.

They must bring their DD-214 veterans ID card.

Bus passes also are available at the Manatee County Veterans Office, third floor, 1112 Manatee Ave. W.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 941-749-3030.

Turning Points Executive Director Adele Erozer is enthused about Saturday's event, which mirrors Manatee County's annual Stand Down.

"This helps them in the spring and ours helps them in the fall, gets them ready for winter," she said. "What's so great is a lot of these veterans won't come in for regular services but they will show up for a Stand Down. That way they connect with services they might need."

"It's a one-stop shop for them," said Greg Para, a Navy veteran and courts-assisting veterans coordinator for the 12th Judicial Circuit.

Call him at 941-586-1472.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix.

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