Saturday, August 15, 2009


People browse for services at the Homeless Stand Down and Health Fair.

Today, members of the homeless community in Tampa received services, toiletries, clothing, and basic health care at the Hyde Park United Methodist Church.

The fair is co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County.

Patrick Conway currently resides in the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans, or DCHV, in Tampa. He says it’s a great alternative to living on the streets.

The DCHV where Conway resides has a capacity of 35 men and women who are eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But according to their medical administration specialist Sharon Tapia, there are only 19 clients there now because some recently found employment and moved on.

Information about the DCHV is just one service featured at the annual “Homeless Stand Down and Health Fair.” Last year it served 125 homeless people including 75 homeless veterans. Wendy Hellickson is a social worker with the Health Care for Homeless Veterans program at the Tampa VA center.

Americorps Vista summer associate Adriane Wilson helped organize the health fair.

Diane DeJesus is a registered nurse who works for the VA clinic in New Port Richey. She took blood pressure of some of the homeless visitors to the health fair. Earnest Taylor says the VA normally takes care of his health needs. He served in Army in the 1980s and has a service-connected knee injury.

People receiving help on Friday - including Sherry White, a Mr. Ramos, and David Williams - gave a range of opinions about the health fair.

The Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance gave people advice on jobs. Al Hilsman is their disabled veterans outreach representative.

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