Though certain minimum services must be available for homeless veteran participants during a Stand Down (e.g., benefits counseling and access, medical and mental health services, housing assistance referrals, linkages to employment and training programs), many include other services, such as Veteran Court, food, and personal hygiene supplies. Although these concrete services are critical, it is the comradery and shared mission displayed at Stand Down events that help strengthen the resolve to end veteran homelessness.
HVRP grantees are encouraged to participate in Stand Down events. If they are not the organizers of Stand Down, they can work with organizers to secure funding for the event. The U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS) supports local Stand Down events that help homeless veterans attain meaningful civilian employment.
Stand Down funding is provided in the form of non-competitive grants that are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, until available funding is exhausted. For a Stand Down grant award, applicants must describe a plan that clearly demonstrates how grant funding will be used for homeless veterans only. Although both veterans and non-veterans may participate in Stand Down events, grant funding can only be used to purchase items, including food and meals, for veteran participants who are homeless.
Hosting a Stand Down event requires budget planning and fundraising efforts, including applying for DOL-VETS grants. A variety of organizations may apply for these grants, including State and local Workforce Investment Boards, Veterans Service Organizations, local public agencies, tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations, including community and
faith-based organizations. These grants do not require matching funds but do encourage applicants to leverage other available resources to maximize the services to veterans and their families participating in Stand Down events.
Applicants for DOL-VETS Stand Down grants may request up to $10,000 in an application that follows certain guidelines. From time to time, DOL-VETS may change the process for Stand Down grant applications. Organizers should go directly to the DOL-VETS Stand Down page for the latest information about applying for a Stand Down grant.
Every year the NVTAC hosts one or more webinars on aspects of organizing and funding Stand Down Events. Keep an eye out for Stand Down webinars on this website’s Events page.
The money provided by DOL-VETS is typically a large portion of a Stand Down budget, but engaging local partners for direct financing, support, and donations is critical to funding a successful event.
Stand Down organizers may secure funding in many ways. In some instances, commercial sponsors contribute; in other communities, foundations assist through grants. Many Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), faith-based organizations, nonprofits, private entities, philanthropic organizations, and individuals will donate money, time, services, and giveaway products to Stand Down operations. Soliciting new organizations, and engaging prior donors, should be part of an overall financing strategy.
Some Stand Down sponsors partner with the American Legion or other VSOs to host a fund raising event, such as last years’ North Bay Stand Down fundraising dinner in Dixon, CA. That funding is then used to enhance employment and training opportunities, or promote “self-sustainment” for homeless veterans. Federal and private funds are used for food items, prepared meals, bottled water, clothing for homeless veterans (including shoes, boots, underwear, socks, coats), sleeping bags, personal hygiene care kits, facility and tent rentals, transportation to and from the Stand Down, event publicity, and other logistical or promotional costs.
For Homeless Veterans: Here are some examples of forms Stand Down organizations have used to have veterans register in advance. This way they have a better idea of the potential number of attendees and their interests, needs, and contract information.
For Providers/Volunteers: There are also registration forms for service organizations to sign up to attend the event and have booth/table from which to offer services, goods, or information to veterans. Here are a few samples:
Following are websites for actual Stand Downs. These sites may spark your creativity and offer ideas for developing, organizing, promoting, and engaging your community in local Stand Downs. If you would like your Stand Down website featured here, contact us at NVTAC@ahpnet.com:
Following are some examples of flyers, posters, news stories, and more, which were developed by many organizers to get the word out about their Stand Down event. These can be used for inspiration and models as you create your own marketing and promotional materials. If you would like to share some of your Stand Down materials with other HVRP grantees, let us know at NVTAC@ahpnet.com!