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1,500 veterans expected at event to help homeless

PHOENIX — About 1,500 homeless veterans are expected to attend an event beginning Friday designed to help them get off the streets.

The Arizona Stand Down event is being held at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix Friday through Sunday to help provide temporary haven and assistance to veterans.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said breaking the cycle of homelessness goes well beyond a roof over someone’s head.

“Give them support services,” he said. “Give them a job. Phoenix is trying to do as much as it can. We need to make sure there’s a safety net for veterans from the city, non-profits, the faith community to make sure veterans have support.”

The Arizona Coalition To End Homelessness said the homeless veterans will get connected with services ranging from physical and mental healthcare to shelter aid. They will also be given haircuts, showers and a meal.

Phoenix announced in mid-December that it had ended chronic homeless for veterans who had been on the streets for an average of eight years. But Stanton said the influx of veterans returning from war in the Middle East will soon need help from the city.

“Many of them are going to fall on hard times. Mental illness, PTSD, other medical ailments. Whatever it is, then we are going to make sure that Phoenix is ready to help.”

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