Multiple agencies came together Friday to provide a one-stop location for homeless veterans searching for resources.
The annual Stand Down for the Homeless outside the Salvation Army on Greene Street offered giveaways such as haircuts and hot food, and the chance to get tested for HIV and ask questions about benefits.
For the organizers, it was an opportunity to reach out to a sometimes-reclusive population and work to reduce the number of homeless on Augusta’s streets.
Kathleen Scott, of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which worked with the Salvation Army for the event, said at noon more than 300 people had been served breakfast and more were expected to receive resources.
Jose Lopez was one of many gripping a large blue bag holding winter clothes and a sleeping bag. The former Marine has a place to stay now but has been homeless many times. The shelters quickly fill up in the winter and all the warm spots on the street are taken after that, he said.
Lopez said he came to the event to have his blood pressure taken but was also grateful for a hot meal.
Neotis Foreman, a homeless Vietnam veteran, was walking away with boots and a sleeping bag. He learned about the event through the VA and, like Lopez, was glad to receive resources to help him get through a rough patch in life.
Ashley Grigg with the Georgia School of Cosmetology was starting on what she guessed was her 20th hair cut.
Given the makeup of the crowd, the most popular haircut seemed obvious.
“We’re doing a lot of buzz cuts,” she said.