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ADA lieutenants help veterans at I Count

Friday was a training holiday for Fort Sill, but 25 second lieutenants in Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) Classes 2-19 and 3-19 gave up their free time to reach out to homeless veterans.

I Count is a 24-hour point-in-time census of the homeless with a specific emphasis on homeless veterans. It covers the 16 counties in the Southwest Oklahoma Continuum of Care. Starting in 2017, it was combined with the Southwest Oklahoma Stand Down, a one-day event offering a wide array of services and tools to help homeless veterans get their lives on track.

“We’re doing two events at the same time,” Southwest Oklahoma Continuum of Care Director Jervis Jackson said. “With the veterans’ Stand Down, this is our seventh year of doing it here, with Centenary United Methodist, and it’s just a one-day activity where we allow our homeless veterans within the community to come in and we just kind of love on them for a few hours during the day. We try to prepare for whatever the need might be, to have that resource available here.”

Jackson said five housing vouchers would be offered to the first five homeless veterans to come through the doors. Some of the volunteers put together housewarming baskets so that when the veterans move into their new homes they will have household goods, cleaning supplies, pots and pans.

Jackson said the point-in-time count is the most important because everything that Lawton Housing Authority and Lawton Support Services do is data-driven.

“Every resource that we’re able to get is as a result of the data that we’re able to collect. And so, for this day, we’re trying to get a count in two areas, the count of those who are in the shelters today during the 24-hour period … and then we have volunteers who are out conducting a street count of the homeless unsheltered,” he explained.

The Lawton Constitution

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