Annual 'Sooner Stand Down' Event Helps Oklahoma Homeless Veteran - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Annual 'Sooner Stand Down' Event Helps Oklahoma Homeless Veterans

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The annual Sooner Stand Down event drew a large crowd as dozens of service providers from the area got together in one place to help local veterans who have been struggling to get off the streets and stay off the streets.

"I was in the army. I was in the Vietnam era," explained Albert Brown. "It's been kind of a rough road."

Brown isn't proud of the circumstances he lived in, but his story has become all too common. He and other veterans have ended up living out on the streets. For Brown and dozens of others, the Sooner Stand Down give them the basics like clothes, a haircut and medical checkups.

"We both served in Korea together. After we got out of the service he took his life," said Ronnie Boyle, who was homeless for years.

His life spiraled out of control after his twin brother's suicide. Boyle said it was too much to handle.

"The biggest tragedy of my life. I lost my identical twin, I took it so hard and one of the biggest faults I did was not go to the v-a for help," Boyle recalled.

According to Dan Straughan, Executive Director for the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance, veterans make up 17 percent of the homeless population in the city. In other places in the state, that number tends to be even higher.

Albert Brown has been there.

"I've slept in dumpsters, I got tired of sleeping on people's couches and I'm kind of independent," Brown said.

Straughan said that homeless people have a hard time getting access to resources that can help them meet their everyday needs and begin to break the cycle of homelessness. Without a robust public transportation system, like some larger cities have, accessing those programs becomes more difficult so projects like the Sooner Stand Down become vital.

For Boyle, it has been a blessing.

"They saved my life. They got me off the streets because they cared," Boyle said.

For more information and resources for homeless veterans.

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