AUGUSTA — Three agencies and their community partners plan to join forces starting Tuesday, Oct. 5, to hold a “Stand Down” for homeless veterans in need of assistance.

The stand down, co-organized by Department of Veterans Affairs, Maine Vet Centers, and Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services, will be the first of three mobile events in Caribou, Bangor and Lewiston.

The events are as follows:

1. Caribou Stand Down: Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Caribou Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 163 Van Buren Road;

2. Bangor Stand Down, Tuesday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Bangor Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 35 State Hospital St.; and

3. Lewiston Stand Down, Tuesday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lewiston Community Based Outpatient Clinic, 15 Challenger Drive.

Veteran advocacy groups supporting the Stand Downs include Maine Veterans in Need, the Elks Lodge, Operation Brotherhood, Preble Street, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Volunteers of America, Easterseals Maine, Veterans Inc., and the Maine Career Centers.

“We are excited to bring the Stand Down closer to the veterans,” said Tracye B. Davis, medical center director of VA Maine Healthcare System, according to a news release from the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. “VA Maine has done a great job connecting homeless veterans to VA resources at past Stand Downs. We now need to go beyond our Togus campus to reach homeless veterans and at-risk veterans who have not yet been connected with the VA.”

“There are currently 198 homeless veterans” in Maine, said David Richmond, director of the Bureau of Veterans’ Services. “We’re hoping to reach this vulnerable population and get them the help and resources they need in this critical hour. Just as importantly, we are also encouraging veterans to attend who are at risk of becoming homeless.”

Veterans in need of assistance are encouraged to attend and will receive cold weather supplies, non-perishable food items, connection to resources, and care packages.

COVID-19 testing will be available, and COVID-related safety measures will be taken throughout the three events to mitigate the potential spread of the virus. VA Maine will have a team of clinical personnel conducting VA healthcare eligibility/enrollment and health screening with many of the needed health resources onsite at the Caribou location. They will also make available Narcan first aid kits and give training on how to administer the life-saving product.

Vet Center staff will also be on site with the Mobile Vet Center. The Vet Center will be available for any veterans in attendance that may be in need of their services. Many other services will be available from its community partners, as well as a large array of cold weather gear, clothing, supplies, and a hot meal.

For more information, call the Bureau of Veterans’ Services at 207-430-6035 or visit maine.gov/veterans.