Women Veterans have access to gender-specific resources from VA, including helping them achieve housing stability and security, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. The Center for Women Veterans and VA’s Homeless Programs Office wrapped up Women’s History Month with a Facebook Live event showcasing VA programs for Veterans facing housing crises.
Many women Veterans face challenges that put them at higher risk of housing insecurity and homelessness, including intimate partner violence, military sexual trauma, combat trauma and mental health issues. With 10% of all Veterans being women, 8.4% of them are facing homelessness, while 13%-15% of them living in poverty will experience homelessness over the course of a year.
For this Facebook Live event, Elizabeth Estabrooks, executive director of the Center for Women Veterans, interviewed Cindy Spencer, supervisory regional coordinator for Supportive Services for Veteran Families, about resources for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
“There are actually several ways women Veterans can connect with programs providing assistance to those experiencing homelessness,” said Spencer. “There really isn’t a wrong door for folks in need. The first resource I would like to highlight is the Veterans call center at 877-424-3838.”
The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans offers free help for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Family members, friends and supporters can also call or chat online with trained counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Other VA programs available to women Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness include SSVF, Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing, and Grant and Per Diem. Visit VA’s Programs To End Homelessness Among Women Veterans webpage to learn about the specific services these programs provide.
During the Facebook Live event, two Veterans, Randi Gaston and Keya Hall, shared their experiences accessing VA’s specialized programs and offered advice for Veterans in situations similar to their own.
“By getting help through VA, I was able to navigate my life a lot easier. It also meant that my kids were going to have a safe space and the necessities they needed,” said Gaston. “It was hard for me to reach out and have that trust, but they were very patient with me. It was like someone… finally had my back.”
Hall agreed that it can be hard to ask for help.
“We all want to do it on our own, but sometimes weird things happen,” said Hall. “Being a soldier gives you the right and opportunity to access these wonderful programs that are designed to make sure Veterans are taken care of. Don’t be proud, just go talk to someone… they can help you out.”
Watch the recording of the event on the Center for Women Veterans’ Facebook page, or see the full video below.
Visit the Veterans Experiencing Homelessness website to learn more about VA supportive services and programs for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness. COVID-19 information and resources can also be found on the site.
- Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness should contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
- For regular updates and stories like this, subscribe to receive the Homeless Programs Office monthly newsletter.
Elizabeth Estabrooks is the acting director for VA’s Center for Women Veterans.