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National Stand Down For San Diego Veterans Draws Record Crowd

More than 700 people pre-registered for the national Stand Down program for Homeless Veterans. It marks the 25th year of the event in San Diego.

KPBS Evening Edition

Waiting For Some Relief

Some homeless people waited outside the gate three days for a chance to reconnect with the military community and get off the streets. Even before the start volunteers were reaching out to those in need with food, water and prays. John Donner a Marine Corp veteran came with a few members from Horizon Park Chapel. "There's definitely a social movement to help veterans, especially the one's that are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. We don't want to repeat the mistakes we made for the vietnam veterans," Donner said.

The founders of Stand Down say it means you don't leave any comrades behind the wire, if they're wounded you go get them, regardless of the cost. Veterans Village of San Diego says it cost $25 million dollars to put on this three day event. When it started 25 years ago 200 people showed up, and last year the number was1,003. This intervention by vets for vets gives them a peace of mind said Army veteran Carmine Sperduto, "they help with dental, glasses anything we need its here." Sperduto has been struggling with homelessness for the past four years. He was waiting in line since Tuesday.

"We fought for this country why are we on the streets I don't understand this. They give us money pensions and so forth, but you're looking at $940 a month, how far can that go? Stand Down runs though Sunday providing full medical, dental and eye care services. Along with grooming, legal advice and housing assistance to military veterans. Its being held in the upper baseball field at San Diego High School.

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