Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Mayor Sly James to attend Heart of America Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

Media contact:
Joyce Richards 913.645.1078

Hundreds of homeless Veterans in Kansas City will get a “hand up, not a hand out” on June 6 and 7. Veterans can receive clothing, shoes and boots, haircuts, community services and a hot lunch at the annual event on the grounds of the Scottish Rite Temple, 1330 Linwood Blvd, Kansas City, Missouri.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Mayor Sly James will attend the Opening Ceremony on June 6 at 10:30 a.m.

The Heart of America Stand Down typically serves between 500-700 homeless Veterans -- men and women of all ages who have served our country with honor, but struggle once they return home.

In 1993, Art Fillmore and Bob Waechter started the Heart of America Stand Down to help the increasing number of homeless Veterans on Kansas City streets. Today, approximately 1,400 homeless Veterans live in the metropolitan area.

“Most people mistakenly believe that our government takes care of our Veterans once they return home,” said Art Fillmore, Kansas City attorney, Vietnam Veteran and Veteran advocate. “That, unfortunately, isn’t true. The Veterans Administration tries its best to help those who served, but they can’t reach all who suffer from military trauma. A large percentage of homeless Veterans have drug, alcohol and psychological problems related to their military service.”

“Thanks to our Vietnam veterans, private causes, involved communities and more than 100 community service partners, we’re able to reach more of these Veterans by providing resources that can make a difference and help homeless Veterans re-enter society as productive citizens,” said Bob Waechter, retired Veterans Administration executive and Vietnam Veteran.

Hours June 6: 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. June 7: 7:00 a.m. to noon

Opening Ceremony June 6 at 10:30 a.m.

About Heart of America Stand Down - Founded in 1993 and run entirely by volunteers, the Stand Down is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. - Homeless Veterans receive help with medical issues, substance abuse, housing and utility assistance, family counseling, spiritual guidance, mentorships, educational and employment opportunities, and much more. Additionally, Veterans are connected with community resources for ongoing care. - “Stand Down” - a term used during wartime to signify a break from fighting; relaxation from a state of readiness or alert. - Stand Downs are held annually in 151 cities across the country; approximately 800,000 homeless Veterans live in the U.S.* - 87% of homeless Veterans suffer from mental illness and/or a substance abuse disorder.* - 1 in 5 Veterans currently receiving treatment attempt suicide.* - Veterans (versus those who have not served their country) are twice as likely to become homeless in the U.S.*

*Source: Veterans Administration

Donations needed: Disposable razors Shaving cream Deodorant Toothpaste and toothbrushes First Aid kits Men’s and women’s blue jeans (new or used) Men’s and women’s boots (especially men’s boots, sizes 9-12)

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