Homeless Women Vets Often Shortchanged

by Freddy Groves

The number of homeless women veterans doubled between 2006 and 2010. By now there’s no telling how high that number is. With the increased number of female veterans having served in the Gulf War, the numbers can’t help but rise dramatically.

A recent General Accounting Office study on homeless female veterans found that:
–Two-thirds of the women were between 40 and 59 years of age.
–One-third had disabilities.
–Many of them were raising minor children.

Per the GAO, the big reason there isn’t enough help for these female veterans is that the information isn’t out there: “HUD collects data on homeless women and on homeless veterans, but does not collect detailed information on homeless women veterans. Neither the VA nor HUD collect data on the total number of homeless women veterans.”

Therefore, even though the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to end veteran homelessness by 2015, it’s not on track to deal with homeless female veterans because it doesn’t know the extent of the problem.

To compound matters, female veterans often aren’t aware of the services available to them, and even if they are, those in place to help them aren’t always aware of the services they are to provide.

A quarter of homeless-shelter coordinators didn’t even know there are programs in place for female veterans. It’s no wonder that many women are waiting so long for shelter: up to four months.

There are additional complications. Even if the women veterans are accepted
into a shelter program, more than half don’t take children, or they limit the
number of children. Or there can be safety issues.

Our women veterans deserve better.

To read the whole report, go to www.gao.gov and put Homeless Women Veterans in the search box. Look for GAO-12-182 dated Dec. 23, 2011.

Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service,
P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.

(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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