An article in the Huffington Post today notes the rise in female veteran homelessness. Since 2006, the numbers of female veterans who are homeless has more than doubled. The article discusses several causes that have contributed to the rise in female veteren homelessness including post tramatic stress disorder and number of sexual assaults among female service members, as well as economic stresses. Whatever the cause, Misha McLamb, one of the women featured in the Huffington Post article makes a good point:
“I wasn’t a loser,” McLamb, 32, says. “Everybody who’s homeless doesn’t necessarily have to have something very mentally wrong with them. Some people just have bad circumstances with no resources.”
This is true for other homeless populations, not only veterans. Connecting homeless populations to resources is a struggle, that is only getting more difficult. Right now there are very heated discussions going on in Washington, DC about budget cuts. These cuts tend to have a disproportionate affect on those the most in need, including homeless populations or those in danger of becoming homeless. In NYC we are not strangers to this; the Advantage programs, a rent subsidy program used specifically for people and families who were formally homeless, was cut this past May. This has put a lot of people at risk who do not qualify for other subsidies, and therefore have little choice but to find somewhere else to stay. If they can’t find an alternative, they have no choice but to go to a shelter.
In the case of homeless female veterans, there is hope for progress. The following organizations were cited in the Huffington Post to support homeless female vets find housing:
The VA National Coalition for Homeless Veterans provides resources related to housing, health care services, military sexual trauma and information on how the needs of female veterans is evolving. Get involved with this VA organization here.
Steps ‘n Stages
The program provides transitional and permanent housing for homeless female vets. The organization also assists with job searches, mentoring, financial literacy and more. Get involved with Steps n Stages here.
The National Center on Family Homelessness
The national initiative supports local nonprofits and organizations that provide housing, as well as those that address domestic violence, mental health and other issues for families not necessarily directly enrolled in programs. Get involved with the National Center on Family Homelessness here.
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
Homeless veterans and veterans at risk can find services at the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838), or online at veteranscrisisline.net.
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