StandDown Maricopa County 2018

StandDown is a military term that refers to a brief period of time for a soldier to leave an active combat area, to rest and regain strength before returning to battle.

--Arizona Veterans StandDown Alliance (AVSA)

Organizers and participants in the Maricopa County StandDown January 25-26 hope to offer rest and respite for the thousands of veterans who come every year to be connected to the services they need. DES is a proud participant of this annual event, the largest event of its kind in the country.

There are a lot of needs, and a lot of things we need to keep working on as a community.

--DES Director Michael Trailor, at the Maricopa County StandDown

DES staffers from the Divisions of Benefits and Medical Eligibility (DBME), Child Support Services (DCSS), Employment and Rehabilitation Services (DERS) and Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) were on hand to assist veterans with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, cash assistance, medical benefits , child support services, employment, and homeless services.

In all, over 70 providers set up tables in Veterans Memorial Coliseum and provided everything from haircuts and clothing to dental and legal services to help with housing.

Did you know that five years ago, you could live in an apartment in Phoenix for $450 a month? Do you know how much that apartment costs today? $650. Our veterans have a hard time funding a $50 rent increase, let alone a $200 increase.

--DES Director Trailor

In 2017, over 2,100 veterans were served at the Maricopa County StandDown.

One of the stations that drew the biggest crowds: free haircuts.
None of us believe those who have risked their lives to serve our country should be homeless.

--DES Director Trailor

According to the Veterans Administration, access to dental care was one of veterans' top three unmet needs. The StandDown dental station--complete with 25 full-service dental chairs--was among the busiest.

According to AVSA, studies have shown many veterans report that after dental care they feel a significant improvement in perceived oral health, general health and overall self-esteem.
I’ve talked to many homeless veterans, and one of the things I really respect about them is they take responsibility for their actions. Many times I’ve talked to them, and they say ‘I messed up. I took the wrong path, but thank God now I’m on the right path.’

--DES Director Trailor

Legal services was another busy area at the StandDown. Veterans had the chance to get free legal advice and clear up matters in various Arizona courts and jurisdictions. Last year, 1,204 veterans registered and received legal services.

A judge volunteers his time to help veterans clear up legal matters.

In 2017, the Arizona Department of Transportation helped 750 veterans satisfy citations, take written and road tests, and reinstate driving privileges.

That’s what we’re all about: rescue people off the street, assess their needs, and place them in the appropriate supportive environment where they can thrive.

--DES Director Trailor

Some of the basic necessities were available free, or at low prices.

Even veterans' four-legged companions received care and services, thanks to volunteer vets--veterinarians, that is.

By the Numbers

In 2017:

  • 2,109 Veterans were served at the StandDown.
  • 17% were homeless; 14% were transitional; 69% were at risk of becoming homeless.
  • The largest group of veterans served were between ages 51-60.
  • The Family Assistance Administration (FAA) in DBME served a total of 283 clients.
  • ARIZONA@WORK and five employers helped over 300 veterans with job connections.
  • Volunteers served 5,250 meals during the two day StandDown.
  • 462 veterans received haircuts.
  • Vets for Vets' Pets served 338 veterans with 589 pets.

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