Homeless Women Veteran on the Rise; VA Improving Services

VA’s efforts to provide housing and health care support for women Veterans have never been more critical. The number of homeless women Veterans continues to rise.  As a result, VA is taking steps to improve and expand its services for women Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. While VA’s services are available to all Veterans, there are special programs available to women Veterans, including supportive services for Veteran families, HUD-VASH housing vouchers, Grant and Pier Diem program, and specialized health care and mental health services for women—all designed to better meet the needs of women Veterans.

VA understands that many women Veterans face great challenges when returning to civilian life that are different from those of male Veterans. These challenges, without intervention, can put women Veterans at greater risk of becoming homeless.

“Homelessness is really a symptom and the end step in a long stage of deterioration,” said W. Scott Gould, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, at the 25th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colorado.  “Once they are [at VA], we have the tools and capabilities to be able to help them,” he said.

According the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, women comprised 8 percent of the homeless Veteran population in 2010; however, they represented only 7 percent of the Veteran population.

A recent GAO report cites the special conditions or predispositions that make it hard for women to readjust after service. Two-thirds of homeless women Veterans were between 40 and 59 years old, the report said, and more than one-third had disabilities. In addition, many of these women live with young children. In addition to the demands that come with bearing and raising children, women are sometimes victims of traumatic events experienced during their service. The GAO emphasized the need for VA to provide reliable and expansive programs that specifically aim to help women Veterans get the benefits, housing, child care, transportation, and health care support they need.

All homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of homelessness are encouraged to connect with VA services by calling the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838), or online at www.veteranscrisisline.net.

VA will continue to evaluate and ramp up its programs to meet the needs of all homeless and at-risk Veterans, men and women alike—a challenge VA embraces.

For more on VA’s initiative to end Veteran homelessness by 2015, and to access information and resources, visit: www.va.gov/homeless.

Stacy Vasquez is a U.S. Army Veteran (1991 – 2003). She currently serves as the Deputy Director for Homeless Veteran Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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6 Comments to “Homeless Women Veteran on the Rise; VA Improving Services”

  1. Todd says:

    Hey I relized that most Women out there dont want to goto places like Voulnteers of America, USVets, etc. Cuz there is not many that do here at Lansing VOA, only has one and due to the way VoA gets bad reports and findings in which women dont want to go to such places..
    I am Homeless Veteran- OIF.

  2. Jalica says:

    When the VA started to bring forth guts, it was after the federal government recognized our plight. For me it is too late to save my home, the deplorable acts of a southern censorship of speaking forward as a woman.

    I went to the VA and I was denide. I was told there are no resources. I was denide. Give me Proof of what you care about. I am just a sore that knows the talk and bull…walks on two legs to lie and deceive the national interest of women!

  3. Rolland Vincent says:

    There seems to be a lot of emphasis on Homeless Vetereans; men and women. But the bottom line really, after all the fuss, is for the most part they are there of their own accord. There are many outreach programs for them, to get them off the street, but it seems to be the same ones over and over again. The alchol, drugs are a choice, they choses to use, they knew the risks, they know how to stop. Lets spend our money, time, assets where they are really needed, guys with TBI, amputations, Blind, and
    perhaps PTSD. We continue to spend money on people with self inflicted wounds, or
    because they were in service, every lit ailment, hang nail that comes along they want VA treatment. That is not what it was ever intended to do, it is for service to our wounded vets, for directly connected service injuries, not alcoholism, drug addiction, or old age.

  4. perhaps if keeping women and children together is a goal the perdiem should reflect that. Now the per diem is just for the adult and women and male veterans who are with children are systematically displaced by simple math. If a provider is only compensated for the adult the children who cannot vote are displaced and this issue needs to be addressed to be symbolic of thanking families of veterans as a whole.

  5. Michael Curran says:

    I am a disabled vet who volenteers in a local soup kitchen. One day as I was washing dishes a women in I quessed to be under thirty years old, grubby, tats over both arms, with long strnging hair came in to eat. One her left arm was the tat U.S.M.C. and the globe and anchor. I served with the U.S.Marine Corps, Vietnam. My heart went out to her and even though she feared everyone around her I tried to reach her with food and gental conversation about the fact that she needed help and I would go with her to get VA assistance should she be willing to go. I never saw her again.

    There are thousands out there men and women who have stepped out of military service to find they had no place to go and trusted know one with their thougths and feeling and what direction they once had was now gone. Alchol, drugs, job lose, marriages gone, can lead to incredable pain this lady ex Marine is facing that void and needed help to get over. I pray she finds help before she suicides or homacides.

  6. Kenneth R says:

    I am the chairman for the MS-Lou Veteran Village. We are working hard to find funds to buy and repair two apartment buildings (30 apartments each) that we will use to house Female veterans and their families. If you know of a business or a Foundation that we can apply or appeal to please let me know.