Stand Down event in Salem helps homeless veterans

The event provided haircuts, flu shots and a hot meal for veterans in need

SALEM, Va. – November is a tough month for David Moore.

"When this month comes it scares me because my nightmares intensify," 

His PTSD from the Persian Gulf War is harder to handle, his tears harder to control.

"I think about where I was."

But today he's smiling, happy and getting a free haircut thanks to the Stand Down event hosted by the Salem VA Medical Center.

"The best thing I could have ever done was come down here to Roanoke and go to the Salem VA," said Moore.

From everyday needs like haircuts to information about health and housing resources, Stand Down is designed to address the specific needs of homeless veterans, veterans at risk of homelessness and those in transition housing.

"We just appreciate all that our veterans have done for our country and we just want them to have a day where they feel appreciated and linked to the services that can be useful for them," said Tanyia Jones, with the Salem VA.

Jones says the Roanoke Valley is doing a better job of reaching homeless veterans and getting them into housing. She says the numbers are shrinking, but there is still room for more events like stand down. And veterans, like Leonard Hubbard homeless on and off for 20 years --  agree. 

"I think it's great because sometimes when you're out there on the streets you don't know about these things, sometimes you have the feeling that nobody wants to help you," said Hubbard.

Along with the Salem VA, Stand Down was cosponsored by Total Action for Progress, the Virginia Employment Commission and Roanoke Valley Veterans Council.