A Transitional Living Program For Female Veterans
In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made some progress in a campaign to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Although the overall number of homeless veterans declined 12 percent between 2010 and 2011, the number of homeless female veterans is increasing, the VA said. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless veteran population.
-Last year, the VA served an estimated 14,847 female veterans who were homeless, formerly homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, according to Stacy Vasquez, deputy director of the department’s homeless-veterans initiative.
-A recent report from the VA inspector general examining veteran housing that receive VA grants found bedrooms and bathrooms without locks, poorly lit hallways and women housed in facilities approved for men only. Nearly a third of the 26 facilities reviewed didn't have adequate safety precautions. One facility housed a female veteran and
her 18 month old with a registered male sex offender.
-According to the Department of Labor, Women's Bureau several listening sessions were conducted and common theme was the perception that existing programs/services for veterans favor men. Participants believed that many seemingly gender-neutral programs failed to ensure equality in the level and types of assistance provided to both men and women.
The top priorities of the women veterans were achieving independence, finding permanent housing, obtaining education/training and employment, meeting their financial obligations, as well as fulfilling their parental responsibilities. They sought resources and programs to facilitate achieving these goals. The women Veterans expressed a desire for sex-segregated residential centers staffed by qualified individuals who are sensitive to the female veteran culture. Women, especially those with a history of MST and domestic violence, report feeling more secure and comfortable in a female-only environment. Locating centers in safer residential areas, away from drug dealers and violence, is also important. The listening session participants emphasized the need for programs targeting homeless women veterans “that are more proactive than reactive.