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For its 10th year, the North Florida Veterans Stand Down expands its services to some non-veterans

Three women sit at a table as a man holding a bag looks down at them.
Tom Flanigan
A veteran checks out the Legal Services of North Florida booth at the Stand Down

The 10th Annual North Florida Stand Down to help unhoused and at-risk military vets happened in Tallahassee over the weekend. The event was open to anyone connected to a veteran in need or who had passed away.

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey stopped by to speak with the vets and hear their stories.

"It's great to see all of the local service providers that are out and love that FAMU opens up the Lawson Center to host us."

Legal Services of North Florida was just one of dozens of service providers, offering help from attorneys like Abigail Chapman.

"In fact, if we get an application and we're unable to help, you're still going to get a referral to some organization in the area that can help."

And Stand Down Founder Washington Sanchez said for the first time, services were offered to some non-vets.

"We have the Gold Star Mothers and widows invited to come and find out their benefits, especially through the Veterans' Services Officer and something called 'D.I.C.'"

Despite the recent surge in overall homelessness, Sanchez said the local number of unhoused vets has actually decreased over the past ten years.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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