New Study: Homelessness Among Women Vets on the Rise

For many veterans returning to civilian life from their time spent in uniform, the transition from military service to everyday society can be littered with difficulties-difficulties that a person who has never served will have a difficult time understanding. According to a new study, the number of female veterans that are homeless is on the rise.

A new report from the United States Government Accountability Office has reasserted this situation, especially for African-American women who are no longer serving in the armed forces. Across the country, including right here in Nebraska, 10 percent of the veterans who spent time in a homeless shelter in 2011 were women, up from 7.5 percent in 2009.

What’s more, 45 percent of homeless female veterans are African-American, and many of them carry a history of past sexual trauma and/or abuse from their time in uniform. According to the same report, both men and women who have been sexually assaulted while in the military represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.

In addition to the already high hurdles of finding both a stable residence and quality employment, psychologists and researchers have noted that veterans who have dealt with sexual abuse frequently suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their trauma.

The GAO report also specified that the majority of veterans who currently battle homelessness have served either in the Persian Gulf conflict of 1989-90 or later, including both the Iraqi and Afghan wars.

The news that homelessness is rising particularly for black female veterans and those who have dealt with sexual abuse in the past is especially worrisome. However, legal options for securing a more stable, livable income are open and accessible. Working with an experienced attorney can help to both illuminate these options and place them further within reach.

Source: Color Lines, “Female Veterans Are Fastest Growing Segment of Homeless Population,” Jorge Rivas, Mar. 1, 2013.