Homeless Veterans STAND DOWN At North Florida Fair Grounds

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By: Emily Johnson
April 5, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - This weekend has been a time for Veterans to unite and help each other out. The North Florida Fair Grounds has turned into a makeshift military camp for homeless veterans for the 2ND Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down.

"A lot of these veterans that are here today, guaranteed 90% of them are in the same shoes," said Bull Tyson.

Tyson is a Army Veteran who suffers from PTSD. He's participating in the Homeless Veterans Stand Down event and said he enjoys the camaraderie the event brings

"It means a lot to me and a lot to the other brothers here that served," said Tyson.

Stand Down was a military term used during times of war, but now it's a term referred to a grassroots community-based intervention program for homeless Veterans.

"We've got registered here 275 for this area that would include surrounding counties," said Ret. Colonel Claude Shipley, Homeless Veterans STAND DOWN Coordinator.

The set up resembles a military camp.

"The environment allows them to reach back into that and help them as individuals. It also then encourages them to go to the different events and capabilities and services that are available here," said Colonel Shipley.

Amenities offered to the Veterans include sleeping quarters, free haircuts, food and for some a new bicycle to get the wheels going again.

"The idea is if we have the ability to help them get employed how about transportation to get to and from work and that was the whole idea behind the bicycle concept," said Fred Ingley, came up with bicycle giveaway.

Bull said he's thankful for the help he's already received at the camp and said he takes comfort in knowing there's others out there that he can relate too.

"This tells me I am not alone and that this is something that is something, we're not going to go away," said Bull Tyson.

Both The City of Tallahassee and Leon County made proclamations to support this year's Homeless Veterans Stand Down and said they will continue to support the event in the future.