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Charles George VA Medical Center - Asheville, NC

Project Connect and VA Stand Down scheduled for Sept. 6

August 31, 2012

Homeless Veterans, and people facing the threat of homelessness, will have the chance to find help on Sept. 6 when the annual Project Connect and VA Stand Down events will be held.

Project Connect, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 5 Oak St., Asheville, is for anyone in the Asheville area who is experiencing a housing crisis.  Flu shots, basic medical care and mental health services, and eye exams will be available along with housing services from a variety of local service providers.  “Project Connect is more than a resource fair,” said Heather Dillashaw, coordinator for the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative, “The event allows multiple agencies to provide services on-site, as well as a chance for community members to volunteer,” Dillashaw said.  Project Connect is being held in conjunction with the United Way’s Day of Caring.  The City of Asheville and Mission Hospital have chosen Project Connect as their volunteer project.  “Dozens of city and hospital employees will be supporting the event with their time and energy,” Dillashaw said.

Additionally, service agency staff members will be able to talk to each other about what is working, and what isn’t.  Community members are invited to stop by for a moment and sign a poster affirming their commitment to ending homelessness.

Project Connect and the VA Stand Down bring the full community together to address the root causes of homelessness by providing tools and supports to individuals and families seeking to stabilize their housing.  Now, more than ever before, the community is recognizing that collaborative problem solving is the only way to truly face the crisis of homelessness in our community.

The VA Stand Down is a yearly one-day event that is scheduled for 9 a.m. – noon in the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave., Asheville.

The VA Stand Down is coordinated by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and supported by the VETS program at Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry for Veterans who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.

The Stand Down is designed to eliminate obstacles Veterans face in overcoming homelessness. The event coordinates community efforts to contact Veterans who are missed by routine outreach methods.  “It also fosters unique partnerships between business, government, non-profits, and community members dedicated to addressing homelessness,” said Allison Bond, coordinator of the Charles George A Medical Centers programs for homeless Veterans.

Veterans will have the chance to speak with staff members from VHA and community agencies to receive information on housing, employment, mental health, and education benefits.  Other services that will be offered include lunch, haircuts, showers, flu shots, HIV rapid testing, medical and eye screenings, and the distribution of personal supplies.

For more information on Project Connect contact Heather Dillashaw at (828) 259-5851, or e-mail her at  For more information on the VA Stand Down contact Allison Bond at (828)298-7911 ext. 5506 or e-mail her at