This morning I read this article in The New York Times by Patricia Leigh Brown and it confirmed everything female veterans already know and are dealing with on a daily basis.
Even as the Pentagon lifts the ban on women in combat roles, returning servicewomen are facing a battlefield of a different kind: they are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between sofa and air mattress, overnighting in public storage lockers, living in cars and learning to park inconspicuously on the outskirts of shopping centers to avoid the violence of the streets.
While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Female veterans are far more likely to be single parents than men. Yet more than 60 percent of transitional housing programs receiving grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs did not accept children, or restricted their age and number, according to a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office.
These statistics are much more than mere numbers to me. Since I started Shining Service Worldwide, which is all about successful integration for female veterans, l have been all to aware of the challenges these women and their children have to endure.
Just yesterday, one of our makeover veterans and her two kids faced living on the streeets. But, with the assistance of our partner United Veterans Beacon House and Congressman Israel’s office she is getting the help that she needs. Now the real help can begin -getting her back on track – with healthcare shelter and a job.
Our Shining Service Makeovers are so much more than a day of beauty. These women become part of our family and we do whatever we can to help them with their many challenges.
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family. Our goal is their successful re-integration back into civilian life. We accomplish that goal through our homes for veteran moms and their kids, our Shining Service Makeovers and our Shining Service Bracelets. Help us help our women in service!