Stand Down gives homeless vets a break from the streets

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jul 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-23 22:06:04-04

The annual Stand Down event in San Diego offers free services to homeless veterans and their families.

"It's pretty scary. It's pretty scary and cold out there," said Norma Castro. Castro says living on the streets isn't easy.

"Oh my God, there's a lot of drugs, and alcohol, especially being a female without anybody helping out there," she said.

So, the Navy veteran is taking a break from the hard life and getting quite the treatment at Stand Down.

"I was dirty when I got here yesterday. I got to take a shower and get new clothes and blankets," she said.

The event offers services like dental and medical care, eye exams, toenail clippings and so much more. It's also a place to keep cool under the San Diego sun.

"Life on the streets is survival mode," said volunteer Ron Stark. "When you're in a survival mode, you're just looking at right here. You can't look to tomorrow. Tomorrow isn't even here. You've only got today."

The goal is to get homeless vets back on their feet, to find jobs and housing.

Some vets were once on the receiving end but now serve as volunteers.

"You can volunteer to give back to the community is what they were telling me," said Castro. "So, I want to definitely do that."

More than 850 homeless vets along with their families will receive services at Stand Down. The event goes until 2 p.m. Sunday.