Mini-Stand Downs are becoming increasingly popular in the Lehigh Valley as a means of finding and assisting the homeless. Various social work agencies, contracting with and responsible to the Department of Veterans Affairs in assisting in eliminating veterans homelessness, are beginning to work together in a more integrated fashion. It’s about time.
The Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living is lead agency for the 24 January event in Allentown. See the flyer (click on the thumbnail) for the other social agencies involved, who are additionally assisted by some veterans groups which also have focused on this subject area in various ways. Second Brigade Motorcycle Club has been particularly active in the Reading area. It now apparently has an interest up this way.
But there is something deeper at stake here and much more meaningful long-term, if one believes in a continuum of care beyond talking about it. All the social work agencies listed are also part of LVMAC’s Lehigh Valley Homeless Veterans Action Committee (LVHVAC) under the leadership of Pat DiLuzio and have agreed to work jointly on some special efforts regarding veterans. And they are not the only ones: the Lehigh Conference of Churches, New Bethany Ministries and VALOR Clinic Foundation are also involved.
LVMAC believes that governments, including city governments, can do more and must proactively work with nonprofits and try to integrate their efforts, especially as many depend on taxpayer dollars to operate and this state relies on a decentralized, commonwealth system of management which depends on nonprofits for social services. We are trying to bring them together in new ways and we are seeing some signs of progress — such as this effort. It does help that our local VA Clinic has a particularly an active and forthright homelessness workers understand the value of teamwork. And we would be remiss if we were not thankful to the VALOR Clinic Foundation for pushing the idea of stand downs into the valley (It continues its efforts in Bethlehem on a bimonthly basis).
As of 14 January 2015