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Veterans stand down to help the homeless

January 19, 2017
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The reward for serving your country should not be having to spend the rest of your life homeless. Unfortunately, it happens far too often.

The Lee County Homeless Coalition may not be able to find homes for all veterans, but they can certainly help them get the help and services they need.

The organization will host the 17th annual Homeless Service Day and Veterans Stand Down on Saturday from 8:45 a.m. until noon at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers.

The event serves to provide the homeless and veteran populations in Lee County with access to essential goods and services at no charge.

The effort to provide these "one-stop" services in one day is a team effort between more than 30 agencies and civic organizations committed to supporting the needs and services of the homeless.

"One of our main goals is to make connections for people so they can get off the streets," said Janet Bartos, executive director for the coalition. "Our hope is to help homeless individuals get the right services."

Services include provisions for food, hygiene kits, bus passes, backpacks, flu shots, haircuts and information on VA benefits. Referrals for substance abuse and mental health counseling will also be available.

The Salvation Army will be there to provide hot meals, there will be an HIV unit, and Job Links will help people find employment.

There will also be numerous veteran organizations such as the American Legion and the VFW there to help out.

SalusCare, which has an office in Cape Coral, will be there, as will Love & Compassion Ministries, another local organization that typically brings a Pepsi wagon.

The coalition will also conduct its annual homeless census, which provides information on the severity of homelessness in the community.

To learn more, contact Bartos at 322-6600.

For more information on the Lee County Homeless Coalition, visit



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