The number of homeless female veterans has doubled in the past decade, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), even though the overall number of homeless veterans has decreased. Current estimates indicate there are 6,500 homeless women veterans.
Women veterans are now two to four times more likely than women civilians to be homeless, reported the Boston Globe. Young women veterans are especially affected: women account for nine percent of homeless vets under the age of 45.
A report (see PDF) issued in January by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America notes that homeless female veterans have been impacted differently by their service than their male counterparts. Severe mental health issues disproportionately affect women veterans. On average, women veterans also earn lower salaries than their male counterparts. In addition, forty percent of homeless women veterans reported being sexually assaulted by a fellow service member.
In an effort to combat homelessness for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veteran Affairs announced the allocation of $75 million last month to provide rental housing and support for homeless veterans.
Media Resources: Boston Globe 7/6/09, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America 1/09; Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veteran Affairs Press Release 6/18/09