Stand Down Pittsburgh – Veteran’s Service Fair

Looking Beyond the Numbers

It’s not unusual for bands to play at the north side’s Stage AE, but on this day it’s the audience that’s the headliner.

Some 60 health and community service providers set up booths to offer assistance to homeless and at-risk veterans.  In addition to enjoying a hot breakfast and lunch, veterans were encouraged to seek out support on issues ranging from employment and education to substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Mission Vision was quick to enlist in the cause.  Jason, Mike, and Ray from the Sons of the American Legion Post 474 out of Zelienople, volunteered to man the table.

“we’re fitting them with reading glasses and then giving them a free pair,” Jason says.

According to the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development, there are more than 39,000 homeless veterans.  In Pennsylvania alone, that number is estimated to stand at 1,200.

Veteran’s Place of Washington Boulevard

Providing transitional housing for up to 48 veterans, as well as job, financial literacy and addiction-recovery assistance, computer-skills training and meals to veterans.


It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and the Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard is busy gathering all the ingredients necessary to prepare a feast.  Set up amid the 50-pound bags of potatoes, onion and carrots is the Mission Vision clinic.

Although Jim, who served with the 5th Ranger Battalion from 1971-1981, will be spending the holiday with his family, he knows that, for many veterans, that’s not an option.  “This place takes care of a lot of people,” he says.  “It’s a Godsend.”

It’s in that spirit that Mission Vision reaches out to provide free eye exams and prescription glasses to those veterans who might otherwise go without.