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The Zebulon Pike Chapter along with the Kinnikinnik and the Cheyenne Mountain Chapters and a host of other Colorado Springs community organizations participated in the 19th year of the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition‘s Stand Down and Transitional Housing Initiative. “Stand Downs” originated when exhausted combat units in Vietnam were removed from the battlefront to a safe place for respite. Today, a “Stand Down” refers to a one day community-based intervention program right here in Colorado Springs designed to help Colorado Needy and Homeless Veterans whose battlefield is now a life on the streets. This year’s Stand Down serviced 198 veterans on October 17.
The Transitional Housing Initiative (THI) is a focused effort to provide a direct path from homelessness to housing stability. As part of the “Stand Down” process, Homeless Veteran Family Units are identified to participate in a 30-day intensive “boots on the ground” process of being provided transitional housing (hotel or motel) starting with the day of the Stand Down, meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and transportation along with a team of volunteers to facilitate the navigation though the process of obtaining suitable housing solutions. This year THI housed ten veterans and their families and have been able to find jobs for eight veterans and permanent housing for six of the families.
The Zebulon Pike Chapter provided four meals, one Sunday lunch, and three dinners, as part of the 30-day Transitional Housing Initiative. Eighteen members from the chapter and a good number of spouses participated in preparing home cooked meals as well as serving. The highlight for a number of the members was the thankful and appreciative response they received from the veterans’ families.