Thursday, March 13, 2008

Will more women vets be homeless?

Will more women vets be homeless?
by Erin G. Edwards and Hallie D. Martin Mar 12, 2008

Deanna Mackey hears stories of homelessness from female veterans.
One Iraq veteran got married a few days before she was deployed, but when she returned 18 months later everything was gone.
Her house, her possessions, her husband were all gone.
She was homeless.
Another Iraq veteran who called Mackey was floating from family member to family member with her pre-teen daughter.
That veteran was not only suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury; she was horribly maimed in a fire.
Except for her daughter, her family didn’t understand what she was going through and couldn’t look at her. Every time she’d go and look at an apartment, people would take one look at her and then say the apartment was no longer available.
The small number of female veterans who call Mackey are not alone and reflect the ongoing issue of homeless female veterans.
Homelessness is a growing issue for female veterans, and experts aren’t sure how it’s going to turn out with female vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mackey, director of the Homeless and Disabled Program at The Prince Home at Manteno, said she gets desperate calls in the moment of crisis from female veterans who are victims of domestic violence.
All Mackey can do is encourage them to fill out an application for The Prince Home, which opened Feb. 25 and is the first state-run treatment program for homeless and disabled veterans.
If the callers are from out-of-state, and many callers are, The Prince Home can’t accept them because they have to take care of homeless veterans in Illinois first.
“We deal with issues to help decrease the likelihood of them becoming homeless again,” Mackey said about the intensive, nine-month therapy program. “It’s not a shelter where they just come and flop, it’s a place where they are actively working on whatever their challenges are.”
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Illinois Warrior Veterans Program
HUD and VA funds more beds for homeless vets
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is expected to announce in the coming weeks funding for 10,000 permanent housing units for veterans.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs hopes the new housing will contribute to less homeless veterans.
On March 6, the VA reported a 21 percent drop in homelessness last year.
The drop, from 195,000 homeless vets to 154,000, is attributed to improved coordination of federal and local efforts.
“This is designed to take down the barrier for vets seeking services,” said Pete Dougherty, director of homeless programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA will also provide case management so vets can take advantage of health care, benefits, rehabilitation and education.
The project will cost HUD $75 million and the VA $30 million.
The 10,000 units are designed to accommodate veterans and their families, which will help many of the returning female veterans who are single mothers and may not have anywhere else to go.
“It’s tough to serve family and children,” Dougherty said. “But when we partner with community, it gives us an opportunity to make vets feel comfortable while the family gets service.”
The biggest difference between this program and past ones was how homeless veterans got the housing. Previously, they had to apply and go on a list, but the VA will identify the veterans who need housing.
“We already know who to work with and what their needs are,” Dougherty said.
The VA also announced an additional $35 million for transitional programs and beds for the homeless on Feb 28.

1 comment:

  1. This is terrible. No person should be homeless in our great nation especially those that serve our country. Our thoughts and prayers should be with our vets.


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