Stand Down Arizona


TED SIMONS: HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS HELP AT- RISK VETERANS AT A LOCAL VETERANS STAND- DOWN EVENT. AND WE'LL MEET A WOMAN WHOSE LIFE STORY INCLUDES BULLFIGHTING, A CAREER IN FINANCE AND APPEARING AT A NATIONAL POLITICAL CONVENTION. THOSE STORIES NEXT, ON ARIZONA HORIZON. ARIZONA "HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON, I'M TED SIMONS. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN IS COMING UNDER FIRE FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP AGAIN. THIS TIME FOR COMMENTS THAT MCCAIN MADE REGARDING A RECENT MILITARY RAID IN YEMEN. MCCAIN SAID THAT THE MISSION WAS “NOT” A SUCCESS BECAUSE IT RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF AN AMERICAN SERVICEMAN. TRUMP RESPONDED WITH A SERIES OF TWEETS TODAY SAYING THAT MCCAINS COMMENTS, QUOTE, “EMBOLDEN THE ENEMY”. MCCAIN IS CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE AND SAYS HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH MILITARY OFFICIALS IS NOT BEING COMPROMISED BY THE PRESIDENT'S TWEETS.

OH NO, I HAVE GOOD CONVERSATIONS OFTEN WITH GENERAL MATTIS, WITH GENERAL FLYNN, GENERAL KELLY. I HAVE GOOD CONVERSATIONS WITH THEMALL THE TIME.

TRUMP HAD DESCRIBED THE RAID IN YEMEN AS A, QUOTE, “HUGE SUCCESS,” DESPITE THE DEATH OF A NAVY SEAL. THE ARIZONA VETERAN STAND-DOWN ALLIANCE KICKED OFF ITS LARGEST ANNUAL EVENT TODAY.
TED SIMONS: HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS GATHERED AT VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM TO OFFER AT- RISK AND HOMELESS VETERANS DOZENS OF SERVICES. JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT ALL THIS IS BRAD BRIDWELL THE FORMER BOARD CHAIRMAN OF THE ARIZONA COALITION TO END HOMELESSNESS. GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. GOOD TO HAVE YOU. VETERAN STANDDOWN. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

BIDWELL: STANDDOWN IS AN OLD MILITARY TERM. THE RESPONSE FOR A SOLDIER COMING OUT OF COMBAT OF SOME SORT AND GETTING THREE DAYS OF RESPITE AND CARE. WE LIKEN THE BATTLE OF HOMELESSNESS TO NEEDING THAT TIME TO COME OFF. WE PROVIDE THREE DAYS OF INTENSIVE SERVICES IN A ONE-STOP SHOP WHERE EVERYBODY IS FOCUSED ON CUTTING THE RED TAPE TO IMPACT VETERAN'S LIVES QUICKLY AND PROVIDE SHELTER, SHOWERS AND MEALS IN THE SAME ONE-STOP SHOP.

TED SIMONS: SOUND LIKE ACCESS OF RESOURCES IS BIG, IT SOUNDS LIKE REACHING THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF INDEPENDENCE POSSIBLE IS BIG.

BIDWELL: IT IS AMAZING. THE EVENT CATALYZES THE WORK WE DO FOR VETERANS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. WE HAVE SEEN A REDUCTION IN THE PERCENTAGE OF VETERANS WHO ARE ACTIVELY HOMELESS IN THE TIME PERIOD OF THE STANDDOWN GOING FROM WHAT USED TO BE 75% 25% TO BEING 25% HOMELESS AND 75% IN NEED OF SERVICE AND AT-RISK BUT NOT IN THAT CONDITION, SO WE'RE REALLY PROUD OF THAT.

TED SIMONS: SOME OF THE SERVICES OFFERED EVERYTHING FROM VA HEALTH CARE TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES TO SHOWERS. THE WHOLE NINE YARDS. TALK TO US ABOUT THAT.

BIDWELL: IT CREATES A ONE-STOP SHOP ONE OF THE LARGEST SERVIVES IN THEIR IS IN THE COURT SYSTEM FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTY AND MANY DEALING WITH OUT OF STATE ISSUES AND AREAS THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF ARIZONA WHERE VETERANS CAN COME IN, GET THEIR FINES THAT HAVE ACCUMULATED. YOU ARE HOMELESS, YOU END UP IN YOUR CAR AND CAN'T AFFORD THE REGISTRATION AND GET A CITATION FOR THAT AND THAT GOES ON THE RECORD AND EVENTUALLY ABANDON VEHICLE. WE ARE ABLE WITH THE MOTOR VEHICLE DECISION AND CITY OF PHOENIX AND OTHER CITY AND COUNTY COURTS TO BE ABLE TO WIPE ALL THAT OUT USING COMMUNITY SERVICE MODELS THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND. SO VETERANS GET A CHANCE TO GET THEIR LICENSE BACK AND GET BACK INTO JOBS AND DO THE THINGS THEY NEED TO DO RECOVER FROM HOMELESSNESS.

TED SIMONS: I KNOW A HOME IS MAJOR FACTOR. EMERGENCY SHELTER, TRANSITIONAL HOUSING, PERMANENT HOMES. WHAT CAN FOLKS WHO GO TO THE STANDDOWN EXPECT TO SEE AND GET ASSITANCE WITH REGARDING SHELTER?

BIDWELL: REALLY THE ONLY CURE TO HOMELESSNESS IS HOUSING ITSELF. IT NEEDS TO BE LONG TERM AND WRAPPING A VETERAN WITH SUPPORT SERVICES WHILE THEY CONTINUE TO PROGRESS THROUGH THEIR RECOVERY. WE FOCUS ON THAT. BUT THE TEMPORARY HOUSING IS IMPORTANT AS WELL. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PLACE WHERE SOMEBODY WHO HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET THEIR OWN APARTMENT AND BE WRAPPED AROUND IN THOSE SERVICES IT TAKES TIME FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. YOU NEED A GOOD, SOLID PLACE WHERE SOMEONE CAN BE TEMPORARILY WHILE THEY GO THROUGH THE HOUSING PROCESS.

TED SIMONS: HAS THAT THOUGHT PROCESS CHANGED OVER THE YOURS? THE IDEA OF HOW IMPORTANT OR WHAT PARTICULAR STAGING HOUSING SHOULD BE INVOLVED WITH THE RETURNING VETS?

BIDWELL: YEAH, IT HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY. WE HAVE ADOPTED A HOUSING FIRST MODEL WHICH FOCUSES FIRST ON STABILIZEING THE HOUSING OF THE INDIVIDUAL WHILE YOU DEAL WITH THE TREATMENT NEEDS AND OTHER RECOVERY ELEMENTS. THEY SEEM TO PROGRESS FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY FROM THAT SITUATION AS OPPOSED TO BEING IN VERY TEMPORARY HOUSING SHARED AMONG MANY PEOPLE LIKE A SHELTER.

TED SIMONS: YEAH, INDEED.

BIDWELL: IT HAS BEEN MUCH MORE EFFICIENT. IT IS A FINITE RESOURCE SO YOU ARE CHALLENGED TO USE ALL OF THE RESOURCES IN A WAY THAT PROMOTES SOMEBODY HAS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE ENTERING THEIR OWN INDEPENDENT LIVING ENVIRONMENT.

TED SIMONS: AND USING ALL THOSE RESOURCES, IT HELPS TO BRING PROVIDERS TOGETHER TO COLLABORATE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET THOSE PEOPLE TOGETHER.

BIDWELL: ABSOLUTELY. THAT IS ONE OF THE MOST UNKNOWN BENEFITS OF THE STANDDOWN. IT IS REALLY BRINGING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER AND NON-PROFITS AND GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS THAT THROUGH THIS COLLABORATIVE EXPERIENCE OVER A WEEK LEARNED TO PROVIDE MORE EVEN MORE EFFICIENT COLLABORATIVE SERVICES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR WHICH IS REALLY IMPORTANT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT STREAMLINING THE DATA.

TED SIMONS: SHARING THE DATA IS A BIG ONE.

BIDWELL: SHARING DATA. WE MADE SO MUCH PROGRESS ON IT AND WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO GO.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE LOOKING AT THE FOLKS BEING HELPED THERE. HOW MANY DO YOU THINK? GIVE US AN ESTIMATE NUMBER.

BIDWELL: TODAY WE HAVE REGISTERED OVER 1300 VETERANS WHICH PUTS IT ON TRACK TO EXCEED 2,000 BY THE END OF THE WEEKEND WHICH WOULD BE ABOUT 10% LARGER THAN LAST YEAR.

TED SIMONS: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THESE THINGS?

BIDWELL: WE STARTED CONSISTENTLY RUNNING YEAR AFTER YEAR SINCE 2000 THROUGH TODAY. AS I SAID BEFORE IN THAT TIME, THE INCREASE IN RESOURCES THAT CAN ADDRESS THE VETERAN'S HOMELESSNESS HAS EXPONENTIALLY INCREASED. WE ARE ABLE TO DO A LOT MORE AND THAT'S BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN CATALYZING THE COMMUNITY YEAR AFTER YEAR THROUGH THESE EVENTS.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED, WHEN THE COALITION FIRST STARTED WITH THESE STANDOWNS, HOW MANY VETERANS WERE SERVED?

BIDWELL: 143 SHOWED UP AT THE FIRST ONE.

TED SIMONS: MY GOODNESS, AND NOW YOU'RE IN THE THOUSANDS?

BIDWELL: YEAH THE 2,000 BUT THE HOMELESS POPULATION DECREASED TO JUST 25% OF THE POPULATION.

TED SIMONS: THERE IS SUCCESS BUT THERE IS MORE FOLKS BEING SERVED WHICH MAKES YOU WORRY BUT MORE FOLKS ARE BEING SERVED WHICH MAKES IT SOUND PRETTY GOOD ALSO. ARE WE CHANGING? IS SOCIETY CHANGING THE WAY IT LOOKS AT VETERANS AND HOMELESSNESS?
BIDWELL: COMPLETELY. ONE EXAMPLE IS I WAS STANDING THERE TODAY AT THE CITY OH PHOENIX COURTS LINE WITH THE PROSECUTOR OFFICE, THE FIRST COURT SYSTEM TO COME SET-UP SHOP INSIDE THE STANDDOWN AND THEY USED THAT MODEL TO ADOPT A MONTHLY VETERAN'S COURT. THEY HAD THE SHORTEST LINES OF ANY COURT SYSTEM BECAUSE THEY ARE ADDRESSING THE NEED IN AN ONGOING BASIS WHICH IS THE CHANGE WE WANT IN THE COMMUNITY LONG-TERM. IT IS CHANGING ALL OVER THE PLACES.

TED SIMONS: AND AGAIN, THE STANDDOWN GOES THROUGH THE WEEKEND AT THE COLISEUM.

BIDWELL: YES, THROUGH SATURDAY.

TED SIMONS: 19TH AVENUE AND MACDOWELL. BRAD BIDWELL COALITION TO END HOMELESSNESS, IT IS GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. CONTINUE THE GOOD WORK. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

BIDWELL: THANK YOU.

Stand Down Arizona is one of the largest veteran service events in the state. For two days hundreds of volunteers will help thousands of at-risk and homeless veterans navigate the services available to them. Brad Bridwell the former board chairman of The Coalition to End Homelessness will talk about the two- day event.

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Also in this episode:

Female Bullfighter

In this segment:

Brad Bridwell, former board chairman of The Coalition to End Homelessness

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