Photo of the inside of the VA Medical Center
credit: Brandon Cooper

The lobby of the VA Medical Center was converted into a one-stop-shop for veterans on Jan. 27, offering resources ranging from health care to employment counseling.

More than 400 participants registered for the annual Winterhaven Homeless Veterans Stand Down in advance. Some found out about the event during medical appointments at the VA or through advertisements in shelters. Others have been attending for years.

Waiting for a bus outside the event, one veteran swept off his hat to show off the new haircut he had received inside. Live music was provided by the Bill Hairston Project, an all-veteran band.

Raymond Terrell, who was also waiting for his ride, said the event came at the right time because his near-daily treatment at the VA causes him to lose weight and he was able to get clothes that fit.

John Davis, another VA Medical Center patient who has come to Winterhaven for the past few years, said that in order to fully benefit from Winterhaven, participants have to be ready to engage with the services they connect with at the fair. “They’ll call you, but it’s up to you to follow up. If you follow up, the VA usually comes through.”