JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Helping around 200 to 250 veterans, the city of Jacksonville kicked off a two-day event Friday aimed at helping homeless veterans get back on their feet.
lt started with a job fair at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds.
More than 35 businesses, including Amazon, Bank of America, Walmart, and more, were at the event to offer jobs to veterans.
A veteran service officer with the city said the number of homeless people is increasing, and that’s why it’s important to know where to get this help.
“We want to make sure our homeless population realizes that they haven’t been forgotten,” said veteran service officer Travis Sims.
As a military veteran, Sims understands the struggles some face as they settle back into civilian life. Tragically, some heroes end up on the streets. That’s why Sims said intervention is key.
“We just want to thank them for their services,” said Sims. “And sometimes we just want to make sure that they know that there’s places they can go to receive assistance to hang out with other Veterans.”
Sims said he expected about 100 homeless vets to come out to the Fairgrounds.
Then at Saturday’s “Stand Down” event, they’ll get other help, like:
- Dental and medical care
- Readjustment counseling
- Spiritual counseling
Sims said it’s important to recognize the need in the city.
“We see our numbers of counts increased over the last year, and that may be affected by COVID. But we at one point had the numbers going down. But now we’ve noticed that they’re going up and they’re not going up significantly. But they’re going up enough to where we should be concerned.”
Sims said a lot of veterans just want to sit down and talk to other veterans and tell their story so this is also a chance for vets to make new, lasting friendships.
Saturday’s “Stand Down” event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds.