“Housing Options for Female Veterans: A Single Mother’s Nightmare!”

By JoEllen McCarthy, Petty Officer 3rd class-United States Coast Guard

joceycAffordable housing is a real problem for everyone in this country, but for no one more than the female veterans who have so bravely and selflessly served our nation.

Many, when they return home from their tour of duty, are greeted with  strained marriages and families; they are faced with the prospect of divorce or at the least alienation from their children –many of whom do not understand why mom had to be away from them for so long. Additionally, these women, who were respected members of the military and who often took command positions, come home to low-paying jobs with few true opportunities for advancement.

As a result, women veterans find it difficult to provide adequate and safe housing for themselves and their children. This situation is even true of women veterans with disabilities who receive housing support from the Veterans Administration, but still are unable to find adequate housing.

This is because the amount of money that is allocated to them is so small that it cannot meet even the most meager demands of the housing market in the most undesirable areas of our country.  Many women veterans and their families are forced to live in their cars, on the streets or, if they are lucky, with a family member or friend who is willing to take them in. These proud members of the military seem to be cast aside once their service is completed—forgotten! Their cries for help often go unheard and even when the women make the right contact in the bureaucratic structure of the VA, the assistance that is provided is woefully inadequate and very slow in coming.

In this great country of ours there should be sufficient affordable housing for all people, but especially for those women who have put their lives on the line and sacrificed time with their families in order to keep the United States safe. More and more women are entering the military; yet, the government agencies have not made any real changes to help women veterans transition back into civilian life.

Further, these heroes’ families deserve better because although they did not actually go to theaters of conflict around the globe, they have also sacrificed—more than those of us who have never been involved in military service cannot truly understand. Do not think that the government is doing all that it can to help women veterans and their families. Speak up for women veterans and their families—talk to your congressional representatives about this issue.

Demand that this great country of ours do more for these patriots and their children. It is true that often women do not like to ask for help or appear weak—especially those women who were in the military service; so it is even more critical that we help these veterans find their voice and add ours to theirs in order for them to get the support that they need and deserve.

No more homeless women veterans is an attainable goal if we all work together.

To learn more go to The Veteran Family Support Alliance.

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