ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (KWQC) – Bridging the Gap Stand Down for Homeless Vets has been helping vets in the QCA for 16 years.
From Thursday, September 15 – Saturday, September 17, 2016 the event is once again being held at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, Illinois.
Organizers say it is hard to pin down an exact number of homeless vets in the Quad Cities, but the Stand Down usually helps 75-100 former service members.
At the event, dozens of agencies, such as the VA Housing Authority, will be available to speak with veterans in the area.
Organizers are encouraging veterans to speak with at least five agencies while at the event and will be giving out winter coats to veterans who accomplish this.
However, those helping with the event say this these next few days are supposed to serve as a “hand up” not a handout.
“Some of them are very shy about asking for help,” said Director the Stand Dow, Mike Malmstrom. “They are proud, and I can’t say that I blame them. But sometimes we just have to buckle down and offer them some assistance and give them that hand up, and it’s kind of a one stop shop. They can come in here and see just about any agency they need to see in one day.
This event is the third veterans event in the QCA during the week of September 12, 2016. Malmstrom says this shows the community cares about their vets. However, he also says year-round support is also appreciated and needed.
“Support is always welcome,” said Malmstrom. “Of course a lot of people ask what we need. Hats and gloves are one of the things we usually run a little short on or could use more of.”
Malmstrom says those who want to donate should contact the VA Homeless Outreach Center at 563-328-5800.