Homeless veterans offered free haircuts, dental checkups at annual resource fair

A homeless veteran gets a free haircut

SPOKANE, Wash. — The West Central Community Center was the place to be for veterans in need of a helping hand on Saturday.

In what organizers say was the largest event of its kind in recent years, homeless veterans showed up to get the resources they need to move forward.

The City of Spokane is tracking a promising trend. It seems like over the last few years, the number of homeless veterans in the City continues to drop.

From last year’s Point-In-Time count, Spokane saw an 11% decrease in homeless veterans from the year before.

Jedidiah Otto-Coning and his family say they know the programs are helping.

While he doesn’t have his own place right now, he says he made progress Saturday by meeting with the vendors at the community center for the Spokane Stand Down event.

Veterans were able to get free haircuts, dental checkups and vaccinations. More than 40 different vendors were there to help provide other resources.

“What a wonderful community we have that basically spent the time and effort to thank our veterans and really connect and show our appreciation and bring them to help them be successful and however that is and however that looks,” said Dave Lucas, an organizer for Spokane Stand Down event. “It’s different for each veteran. So we look at how they move forward, it’s just a wonderful opportunity to do that.”

Otto-Coning says it wasn’t easy to ask for help, but he knows he had to do it.

“I’m used to doing things on my own. Not being able to do it on my own, I feel like I wasn’t able to be a good provider, but I know asking for help is a reason for being a good provider,” he said.

He said he was surprised to find out there are many resources out there for veterans.

A list of resources can be found here on the City of Spokane’s website and Spokane Cares.