A Look Back at Cleveland's
Homeless Stand Down

Historical Significance of a “Stand Down”

The original Stand Down for homeless veterans was modeled after the Stand Down concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. At a secure base camp, troops were able to shower, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, and send and receive letters from home. Stand Down gave battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to respite, renewal and reconnection to family and friends. The first domestic Stand Down was held in San Diego in 1988 as an outreach initiative to homeless veterans. (Information Courtesy of National Coalition for Homeless Veterans)

History of the Homeless Stand Down in Cleveland

The first Homeless Stand Down in Cleveland was held in the summer of 1991 at the Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus. Since the beginning, the Cleveland HSD has been unique in that the event welcomes all citizens facing homelessness (individuals and families), not just homeless veterans.  In the fall of 2000, The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless partnered with InerAct Cleveland to host Cleveland’s one-day Homeless Stand Down, and since then InterAct Cleveland took the major role in coordinating the event.

With InterAct Cleveland’s closing in January 2012, the Homeless Stand Down is now housed with HandsOn Northeast Ohio and is a collaboration of over 200 faith based organizations, social service agencies, and community and corporate partners.  2016 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Homeless Stand Down in Cleveland.


Video courtesy of Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH)