NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Veterans from across Western New York got a helping hand on Friday in Niagara Falls, where the city held the Veteran Stand Down event at Heat, Love and Soul.
The one-day event offered information on veteran benefits, legal advice, and housing services. There were health services, a free lunch, and giveaways.
The event offers veterans valuable services for free that many of them really need.
"We're actually looking currently at a downward trend of the veteran population in Western New York just by people moving out of the area and older veterans unfortunately, passing away," Alyssa Vasquez, the director of marketing at the Veterans One-Stop Center, told 2 On Your Side.
"So we're looking around about 90,000 veterans in the Western New York area, and there's always going to be a need. With newer veterans arriving to the area, there's always going to be that transition stress, and there's really no timeline to transition to stress."
She added: "So you can have a veteran that's been out for 50 years, and they're just barely starting to confront the things that they've dealt with, or somebody that literally transitioned out a month or two ago, and they're struggling to find employment. So the need is definitely there," she said.
"But the biggest need, honestly, that we see right now is the need for peer support. We see that that's huge when it comes to suicide prevention, and just that reconnected, that family, that brotherhood that they had when they were serving, you know that we can kind of reintroduce that to them. That's a huge need."
If you are a veteran or know of a veteran who needs help, you can contact the Veterans One-Stop Center of Western New York at 716-898-0110.