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Female Vets Facing Crisis At Home

Female Vets Facing Crisis At Home


Once primarily a problem among male veterans, homelessness and economic struggles are on the rise among female veterans as well, and for no good reason.

To some degree the increase can be explained by the simple fact that more women are among the growing ranks of veterans in this country after two recent wars and counting. But increased numbers of women in the military cant alone account for the fact that the population of female veterans without permanent shelter has more than doubled in the last six years, a trend many expect to continue as the war in Iraq ends.

Female veterans make up about 8 percent of all veterans, or about 1.8 million, compared to just 4 percent in 1990. The number of homeless female veterans has more than doubled from 1,380 to 3,328 between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2010, according to a December U.S. Government Accountability Office report that found many with young children and nearly two-thirds between ages 40 and 59.

Female veterans also face some unique challenges according to advocates. Many have suffered sexual assault and remain too traumatized to share common space with men. Many are single mothers struggling to find housing for themselves and their children. They’re also more likely to be jobless: Unemployment for female veterans who’ve served since September 2001 was 12.4 percent last year, slightly higher than for their male counterparts.

Despite these findings this country continues to inadequately treat these veterans’ needs. A new 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 female veteran and her 18-month-old son were placed in the same facility as a male veteran who was a registered sex offender.

Of course, there are ways to address these problems. Adequately funding veterans programs and our social safety net in general would go a long way to helping our women returning to civilian life transition safely and effectively. So would making sure women have access to safe, affordable health care and jobs that pay at least as much as their male peers.

It really is that simple. The last thing these women need is to return home only to realize they have to fight yet another war–this time one waged against women.


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Photo from expertinfantry via flickr.

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10:50PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

Right. .....meanwhile the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, where money bills originate, is intent on cutting budgets and government programs, and States cannot, because Federal Aid is not available. There should be no veteran living in the streets. There should be no veteran without a job. Forget about parades and yellow ribbons, and pretty pictures. We should all feel disgusted, that these men and women gave up their normal lives to serve all of us. This represents the ultimate in greediness, and proves, along with hungry children, battered women, and demeaning laws, that there are many folks in the United States in high positions in industry and legislatures, who are without morality, ethics, or religious sensibility.

6:41AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

Veterans need and deserve all of the assistance they can get. For their government to turn their back on them is disgraceful!

5:54AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

To Max, Gene, and Michael,
Thanks guys. It's men like you whom our society needs to get better, not the Chicken-hawks currently lording it in Congress.

6:30PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Oh, this is just deplorable! These women deserve all of our support! We need to do better for all of our Veterans!

5:53AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

WHat's really disturbing is that only 29 of us bothered to read and or post. This type of apathy allows this type of gender based discrimination to continue; disgusting.

5:14AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

They're just women, what do they matter? Oh that's right without women we lose the true pillars of our society. Ladies we are a force to be reckoned with. So let's prove it. :)

3:53AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Thank you for calling attention to this disturbing issue.

12:46AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

No homecoming parades, no housing, no inclusion for PTSD from rape and sexual assault - this is horrendous. But with the way the gov't is treating the 99%, is this surprising?

10:04PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

This is not fair. Someone needs to stand up for them and I guess what we have to say is "I am woman hear me roar."

4:04PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

The right wingers want the protection of the armed forces, but don’t want women or gays serving in the military. Any who are abused (sexually or otherwise) by their fellow service personnel are further traumatized by being stigmatized. Women and gays who serve in the military are not honored as they should be. Think of all the servicemen coming home after Vietnam—they were spit on and treated horribly.
Maybe things would change if the armed services stepped back and said, “Okay, you don’t want equality in the military, then we won’t serve you.” Fight your own battles for a change.
Treatment of our veterans is disgraceful. We should all be ashamed.

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