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Homelessness Among Veterans

Female veterans are two to three times more likely to be homeless than their civilian female counterparts2. Risk factors include lower socioeconomic status, exposure to trauma, mental health issues, and lack of social support.

The issue of female veteran homelessness is a complex and urgent problem. There are different forms of homelessness, including chronic, transitional, episodic, and hidden homelessness, each posing unique challenges. Chronic homelessness, often linked with severe mental illness or substance use disorders, is particularly difficult for female veterans who may also be dealing with military-related traumas and reintegration issues.

Transitional and episodic homelessness refers to unstable living conditions or sporadic periods of homelessness. Hidden homelessness, which includes temporary living situations like couch-surfing or living in cars, is often overlooked by official counts, yet many female veterans fall into this category.

Female veterans are 2-3 times more likely to experience homelessness compared to civilian women due to factors like trauma exposure, mental health issues, and lack of social support. The most affected age group is between 45 and 54, with African-American female veterans being disproportionately hit.

Despite a decrease in veteran homelessness in 35 states and the District of Columbia between 2020 and 2022, it's estimated that up to 40,000 women will identify as homeless in the US by 2025. This is largely because government agencies don't recognize hidden homelessness.

Homelessness greatly impacts female veterans, exacerbating mental health conditions, hindering access to healthcare and social services, creating barriers to employment and education, and increasing vulnerability to violence and exploitation.

Addressing this issue requires comprehensive support services that cater to each veteran's unique experiences and situations. These services include immediate shelter, mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training and placement, and assistance in securing stable housing.

 

Resources

  1. VA Programs: The VA has several programs to end homelessness among women veterans. In FY 2022, more than 199,000 homeless women Veterans were served by the VHA homeless programs1.

  2. DAV (Disabled American Veterans): Offers a range of services to homeless women veterans, including connecting them with housing, health care, employment, and other assistance 2.

  3. Women Vets USA: This organization works to combat the stereotype of who a homeless veteran is and provides resources to help female veterans experiencing homelessness3.

  4. National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: Veterans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness can call 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for help4.

  5. Final Salute Inc.: Provides assistance to homeless women veterans and their children who are currently homeless, facing homelessness, or under financial strain5.

  6. Department of Labor's Women Veterans' Program: Works to mitigate the risk factors affecting women veterans' housing instability through supportive interventions6.

  7. GAO's Support for Vulnerable Women Veterans Program: Helps women veterans experiencing homelessness transition to permanent housing7.

 

Footnotes

[^1^]: https://www.va.gov/homeless/pit_count.asp
[^2^]: https://valorhealthcare.com/how-big-a-problem-is-female-veteran-homelessness/
[^3^]: https://www.nchv.org/images/uploads/HFV%20paper(1).pdf
[^5^]: https://www.statista.com/statistics/962219/share-homeless-veterans-us-gender/
[^6^]: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/2022-ahar-part-1.pdf
[^7^]: https://www.dav.org/learn-more/news/2022/homeless-women-veterans-growing-needs-outpacing-services/

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