ISU, community work together to help homeless veterans

Will Fowler

The second annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down will be taking place July 29 at Brookside Park in Ames.

Iowa State will be playing a large role in the event, said Jathan Chicoine, coordinator of the ISU Veterans Services.

“[Last year] the ISU student vets camped out on campus in the snow to raise funds,” said Chicoine.

The event, which last year served 50 people, will be providing various free services from local businesses and organizations, including family counseling, meals and haircuts.

While the event is targeted at homeless veterans, all people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless are welcome. The community has been extremely supportive of the event, Chicoine said.

“I am very pleased with the collaboration from the community,” Chicoine said. “Through the community network, we were able to help a brother that was homeless, living out of his car.”

Chicoine said although homelessness isn’t always a visible problem, it can be worse than it appears.

“Somebody might just be moving from couch to couch — that would be considered homeless,” Chicoine said.

Nick Grossman, detective with the ISU Police Department and a leader of the event, said that a headcount would be conducted to approximate the number of people in Ames who would be considered homeless.

“Hopefully it gets to the point where we don’t need to do things like this anymore,” Grossman said.

Grossman said ISU Police has officers who will be coming to help out. Volunteers will also set up a portable shower.

“Many people don’t even think about this issue,” Chicoine said. “One homeless veteran is too many.”