Fayetteville holds ‘Stand Down’ event to help homeless veterans

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FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WNCN) – The Veterans and Community Homeless Stand Down event helped more than 300 families at Festival Park in Fayetteville on Thursday. 

Army veteran Michelle Greene says coming to this event two years ago helped change her life. She was homeless for two years. 

“I was [homeless] but then I came to one of these stand downs and then I got hooked up with resources, and I eventually got a place,” Greene said. “I’m just roaming the streets backpack, book bag whatever trying to make it.”

“This is a testimony to the community’s love of our veteran population,” said Daniel Ducker, with Fayetteville VA Coastal Health Care System. 

Dozens of agencies ranging from healthcare to job placement offered help to those in need. 

“There’s a lot of people who needed assistance who have been able to receive some,” said Ricky Woodrup, who came to get help with job placement.

Getting the agencies together in one spot makes it easier for people to connect with the right resources. 

“It has to be their step, ‘where do they want to go?’ and then we try to lead them and get them to the resources that will help them get there,” Ducker said. 

“It makes me feel really good this is what I became a social worker for,” said Toyia Burgess, program coordinator for Healthcare for Homeless Veterans. 

Helping veterans like Michelle, who now has a home but still remembers others who are living on the streets.

“We just need more resources, we need more people willing to help and not bash the homeless because they do treat you kind of bad out on the street,” Greene said. 

Some homeless advocates are working to grow a “housing first” initiative in Cumberland County. This provides immediate housing without having to complete any programs. 

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