LEWISTON — Several local agencies gathered, shared information and walked a 2-kilometer loop Wednesday to raise visibility for Lewiston-Auburn’s homeless veterans.

“We know they’re out there,” said Wendy Thomas-Blais, a social worker with the Lewiston VA Clinic. “We’re trying to locate as many as we can.”

Wednesday’s event — “VA2K” — was being held at clinics and hospitals nationwide and at five other Maine locations, including the VA hospital at Togus.

Its aim was to remind people that many homeless people are also veterans. A 2012 survey of Maine homeless people counted 1,050 people, 125 of whom were veterans.

The walk was created to symbolize the walk a homeless person might have if they wish to find services.

“Honestly, we know it’s farther,” said Thomas-Blais, who routinely finds rides for local veterans who wish to visit the clinic.

At least once a week, Thomas-Blais connects with a new Lewiston-Auburn area veteran who is homeless.

“They are young and old,” she said. Some may have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Others might have served in Vietnam.

Despite sunny skies and mild temperatures, few people attended the Lewiston event, held at the VA clinic near Exit 80 of the Maine Turnpike.

Most attendees were patients at the clinic who wandered over out of curiosity. Many left with fliers and free bottles of water.

Others left with plastic bags from the Southern Maine Veterans Alliance, a Portland-based group that works to help homeless veterans find food, clothing, a place to live and household items.

“We try to listen and get them on track if they really want to,” said Roger Goodoak, a Vietnam veteran who was homeless for a time. “Basically, we just try to be there.”

The trash bags were handed out as a fundraiser. The group hopes people will fill the bags with returnable bottles and cans and take them to a Shaw’s or Hannaford supermarket. Workers in the market can use a code affixed to each bag as a reference to donate the proceeds to the alliance.

Also present Wednesday were people from Catholic Charities, which helps homeless people around Lewiston-Auburn.

More people are in danger of losing their home than most people guess, said Janice Lara-Hewey of Catholic Charities.

“Life happens,” she said. “People living paycheck to paycheck may lose a job. That’ll send you over the edge.”

Thomas-Blais insisted she was not discouraged by the turnout Wednesday.

At some locations, large groups were expected to gather to walk or wheel a 1.2-mile route. About noon, she tried talking other social workers into walking a loop near the clinic.

“It’s our first year,” Thomas-Blais said. “Next year, we can celebrate our accomplishments.”

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