MORRISTOWN, N.J., NOVEMBER 8, 2013 – Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development greeted veterans at the Second Annual Morristown “Stand Down” hosted at the National Guard Armory in Morristown today to aid former service members who are homeless and in-need of assistance to become self-sufficient.
The Department of Labor partnered with the New Jersey Fallen Soldiers Foundation and the Community of Hope, both nonprofit organizations, to provide veterans with access to basic physical needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical support as well as social services, veteran benefits, employment assistance, addiction counseling and legal services.
“The Christie Administration works daily to present employment opportunities and assistance to the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. I’m proud to be part of today’s Stand Down to give those veterans who have hit on the hardest of times an opportunity to get their lives back on track,” said Commissioner Wirths. “This is the second year my department has participated in this particular effort to connect hundreds of homeless and impoverished veterans from 13 counties to the services they need. If we are to return them to a productive life and self-reliance, we must first help them to take care of the problems that derailed them in the first place.”
The event, which also involved personnel from the Department of Labor’s One-Stop Career Centers and the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, continues through Saturday, November 9, 2013. Stand Down is a military term used when service members are removed from combat to rehabilitate and rest. Today, Stand Downs are grass roots, community-based intervention programs to help homeless veterans battle life on the streets.
“Governor Chris Christie and his Administration have clearly demonstrated their dedication and support for needy veterans and veterans returning from overseas conflicts since September 11, 2001,” said Thomas Dresdner, president of the New Jersey Fallen Soldiers Foundation. “Our first Morristown Stand Down was a great success, and the New Jersey departments of Labor and Workforce Development, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Human Services played critical roles in providing at-risk and homeless veterans with the services and care that they need. I appreciate their involvement in our Second Annual Stand Down.”
Veterans attending the event had an opportunity to eat a meal, obtain clothing, get a haircut, attend employment counseling, go through health screenings and receive shots and listen to legal counseling. They also were able to connect to Veterans Administration benefits such as housing, medical services, dental services and mental health services.
The Christie Administration has regularly hosted and participated in veteran-focused events including Stand Downs, dozens of veteran employment fairs and conferences designed to help employers connect with veteran services. The administration also has joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion and other sponsors to support “Hiring Our Heroes” events, as well as helping to connect military personnel with quality career and training opportunities in the in the building and construction trades.
The Department of Labor currently works with more than 18,000 veterans in its 34 One-Stop Career Centers throughout the state.