Help lags for homeless female veterans

About 8,000 women veterans lack permanent shelter. Need is likely to rise as more women return from war.

By Bina Venkataraman | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Page 1 of 3  You will need to go to the link to see the rest of this story

Rachel Caesar, the first American-born in her family of immigrants from Trinidad, served in the National Guard and Army Reserve for 14 years. Today, three years after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, she’s out of an apartment, out of work, and, on some days, ready to “run away and hide.”

Ms. Caesar still suffers from sleepless nights, jumpiness, and vivid flashbacks of weapon fire and land mine victims. In 2005, her doctors diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); soon after, she had to quit her customer service job of eight years.

After she fell behind in rent, she and her landlord agreed it was time for her to go. “I’m not sure how long I can stay here,” she says, of her mother’s house in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, where she and her two sons have been living for the past two months. “I would go to a shelter, but I don’t want to put my kids through that.”

Like many women who return from war, Caesar – who calls herself “on the verge of homelessness” – is struggling to adjust to civilian life, make ends meet, and find a permanent home.

An estimated 8,000 female veterans are homeless in the US – the most in the nation’s history and a number that is expected to increase as more women return from the war in Iraq. At the same time, services to help these women stay off the streets are lagging behind, say several experts who work with veterans’ issues.

“With the likelihood of more women veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with a need for housing, it’s going to be a major, major issue,” says Cheryl Beversdorf, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, noting that there isn’t enough housing to meet even current demands. “The VA is trying to gear up services for women, but frankly it’s not enough given what we are dealing with.”

Nearly 15 percent of the military is female, which partly explains the increase in female veterans and their homelessness. But of the 260 programs in the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ network that give counseling, shelter, and other services to homeless veterans, only eight have special programs for women.

Oldtimer’s comments.   Please read the rest of this important story at the link above.   It highlights the problems that women experience in the military and how that carries over to their civilian life as veterans.   One problem that the writer points out is that women are not adjusting well to considering themselves veterans, even though many of them are in intense combat situations in the military.   Also when they go to veteran’s centers, they are often the only woman in sight, but there are men everywhere.     Women want and need their own space.  Another comment by the writer: 

 “A woman who has served in the military is up to four times more likely to be homeless than a nonveteran woman.”

I believe that is true, and it makes women who served our country even more likely to be homeless than men.  Our veterans, men and women alike, are not being funded or served properly by our govenment.  If you think they are being well served, please read the articles above my banner.   They are based on true facts and you will find the sources there to verify it.  

 Men and Women Warriors, Whether Doing Well, Fallen, Homeless or in Poverty:

They are All Heroes to me!

We need to respect, honor and help them

For all homeless veteran articles 

For all homeless youth articles

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2 responses to “Help lags for homeless female veterans

  1. You have no idea what a breath of fresh air your post regarding the deplorable treatment of female veterans means to me, a female vet. I am not here to tell you my story however, but encourage you to continue being brave enough to talk about a subject few, even our brothers in arms, are unwilling to acknowledge. Our service, wether at home or abroad, is rarely held in the same esteem as our brothers. We can never suffer enough, be injured enough, be traumatized enough to be taken seriously as VFW’s. No one asks us to be in their parades, to support their campaigns, and our stories…and there are hundreds of thousands…are rarely heard because we are considered second class to the returning, illustrious, heroic male. We are encouraged to remain silent and often we do because when we do speak…we are laughed at, casually dismissed, not taken seriously, seen as hysterical, emotional, and therefore, unreliable.

    But, we were reliable enough to send to war.
    We were reliable enough to protect the backs of our brothers and sisters in arms.
    We were reliable enough to do our duty, to follow orders, to ‘suck it up’ when we hurt, ached, were wounded, homesick, and lonely.
    We were reliable enough to spend millions of dollars of training on.
    We were reliable enough once…but then whatever we did or do, is never enough. We and our stories are continually eclipsed by our male counterparts.

    If it is shameful, and it is, how our brothers in arms are treated on their return home….is it not doubly shameful when those same brothers shut us out, along with the civilians?

    How can anyone wonder why we are silent?
    Why speak to the deaf?

  2. We’re having a free screening of the new documentary about female combat veterans of the current war in Iraq on October 25 at 2:30pm at the SIFF Cinema at Seattle Center. Please join us. The event is free and open to the public. Representatives from the local VA benefits and health care system will be present to answer questions following the film. For more info visit http://communitycinema.org

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