Homelessness & Women Veterans

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.

Nationally there is not nearly enough housing for women veterans and their children, who are homeless and at risk of being homeless.  Female veterans make up about 8 percent of all veterans, or about 1.8 million, compared with just 4 percent in 1990.

A new report from the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general examining veteran housing that receives 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.
  • Female service members, who in wars with increasingly blurred front lines return with post-traumatic stress disorder, face unique challenges, advocates say. 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.