Homeless connected to vital servicesPosted by: admin | Posted on: September 16, 2019
An outstretched hand and a warm “welcome home” is how John Russell was greeting people he met Thursday.Nobody really was home — which was part of the point. Russell, chairman of the grass-roots Clark County Veterans Assistance Center, was volunteering at the fourth annual Project Homeless Connect event, a clearinghouse of services, resources, assistance and giveaways for people with no fixed address.Hundreds swamped the Centennial Center at the Red Lion at the Quay downtown to get haircuts and dental exams, talk with housing and financial advisers, pick up free paperbacks and gently used boots — even go behind a privacy curtain for a confidential medical or mental health assessment.“Veterans come back changed,” said Russell, a Vietnam veteran. “There are traumatic brain injuries, there’s post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes you come back with problems but you don’t understand you do have problems. You’re in a mode we call self-destruct.”According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (http://nchv.org), veterans make up approximately one-fifth of the nation’s total homeless population, most recently estimated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at approximately 1.56 million.Russell’s fledgling Veterans Assistance Center wants to provide all sorts of help — medical, dental, mental, even spiritual — to those folks who signed up to serve and came back only to disintegrate.