As fireworks are going off and flags are flying, July 4th is a time when our minds turn towards the veterans who have served our country. Over the years, Calvary has served a number of female veterans who came to our programs. Last July, we brought you the story of one woman who overcame chronic illness, depression, and addiction and went on to help serve fellow veterans.
Like the woman in this story, female veterans who are homeless have a unique set of needs and challenges they face. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that women veterans who are homeless are more likely to suffer from serious mental illness than male veterans. In addition, “women veterans and those with disabilities including post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are more likely to become homeless, and a higher percentage of veterans returning from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have these characteristics.”
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And thousands more are at risk of becoming homeless.
Despite these numbers, programs for homeless veterans still face challenges. Earlier this year, budget cuts threatened millions in funding used to issue housing vouchers to homeless veterans.
But there’s good news too. In response to the rate of homelessness among veterans, the Department of Housing and Urban Development put a plan into place aimed at preventing and ending veteran homelessness by 2015. As HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently said of veterans facing homelessness – “They deserve stability. They deserve a place to call home. Anything less is unacceptable.”
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