SAN DIEGO - The 26th annual three-day "Stand Down for Homeless Veterans" event gets under way Friday at San Diego High School, providing former armed services members living on the streets free access to showers, food and a wide range of medical, legal and social services.
Through Sunday, the upper athletic fields at the downtown campus will take on a military-like atmosphere, with tents and cots set up by organizer Veterans Village of San Diego.
Around 1,000 male and female veterans and their dependents typically attend Stand Down, which is staffed largely by volunteers, including current armed services members.
Participants undergo physical, dental and mental health exams, receive eyeglasses, take showers, get new clothing and hygiene kits, handle legal issues and look for work during the event.
Since Stand Down was started in San Diego in 1988 by the VVSD forerunner, the Vietnam Veterans of San Diego, more than 200 Stand Downs have been formed around the country.