DIXON, CA - The government shutdown is causing a major roadblock for organizers behind the 12th annual North Bay Stand Down for homeless veterans in Dixon.
"It's really had all of us on edge," Stand Down co-director Jeff Jewell said.
The 3-day stand down starts Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Dixon May Fair Grounds. The event is a resource fair for homeless veterans. It provides "food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment," the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs outlined on its website.
This week, organizers got some bad news. For the last few years, Travis Air Force Base has been an integral part of the stand down. Now, because of the shutdown, the military can't provide the tents for the event.
"The tents and supplies are staged and ready, but they can't deliver them because it would require fuel and manpower, but it's not available because of the government shutdown," Stand Down Public Relations spokesperson Patrick Sheehan explained.
About 300 homeless veterans are relying on the stand down for a place to sleep, for food and other essential services.
"They need the help," Sheehan added. "They served this country and basically this country and the government are impeding their progress."
Volunteers scrambled and worked out a deal to borrow tents from the Sacramento Stand Down. But there's a problem getting the tents from McClellan to Dixon.
"We really need someone out there to help us transport," Jewell said. "We need a flatbed truck and a forklift."
Organizers hope someone will step up to help on short notice when the federal government has let them down.
"Stop this craziness in Washington," Jewell said. "Because when it gets down to brass tax and stops us from providing services to homeless veterans, I mean that kind of seems like that's the bottom."
Organizers don't plan to let the lack of tents keep them from holding the event. But they're really hoping someone will step forward now. They need a flatbed truck and a forklift to transport the tents on Sunday and then bring them back on Friday.
If you can help, you can contact Lynn and Jeff Jewell at (707) 365-5073.
They also need more volunteers. For more information, go to http://nbstanddown.org/