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Homeless Veterans Stand Down Day 

Wayne Harvey

As lawmakers debated health care reform in Washington, the medical needs of needy veterans were being addressed here in Maine.The Togus V-A center hosted its annual “Homeless Veterans Stand-Down” event Saturday.Homeless vets were identified through social service agencies, shelters and soup kitchen.They were bussed to the V-A center where they were treated to hair cuts, massages and given a medical exam.And they were also given information about employment, where and how to apply for food stamps.The V-A has identified nearly 500 homeless veterans across the state, about 50 or 60 of them made it here Saturday.”Today this goal is to take a day off from a hard life for homeless whether you’re in a shelter, a tent or in your car and to connect with resources to changes you life” said Susie Whittington, of Healthcare for Homeless Veterans. “That’s the goal. Come in take a day off put your feet up get some resources and if your are ready to change your life, than we’re going to help you do that.”The V-A is making some strides when it comes to homeless veterans, they’ve been able transition some vets from street to shared housing facilities.This is the 12th year the V-A medical center has offered this “Stand-Down” day.