AMES, Iowa - When emergency strikes in the military, it orders a "stand down" for its troops - an order to cease what you're doing until the problem is resolved. And that's how several groups in Ames say they view the issue of homeless veterans, too.
"My office, on a weekly basis, I get several veterans who either are homeless currently, or they're right on the line," said Luke Jensen, Office Administrator for the Story County Department of Veterans Affairs. "They're about to be if something doesn't change for them - soon."
That's why various organizations like Jensen's came together Tuesday for the second annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down - an event where homeless veterans, or those at risk of soon becoming homeless, could come and be fed, clothed, given a haircut, and offered information on benefits services.
Last year's Stand Down event helped about 50 area homeless veterans, and this year volunteers say anyone struggling with homelessness - not just veterans - were welcome to attend. More than 200 Stand Down events are held across the country each year.