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.