I discussed this topic this morning on the Talk of Connecticut with Brad Davis.
According to a CBS News report, women make up about 8% of all veterans, or 1.8 million. Also according to the report, the number of female veterans without permanent shelter has more than doubled in the last half-dozen years and is continuing to climb. Of course, part of this is due to the overall high unemployment rate and homeless rate that our country is facing. But veterans, and specifically female veterans, face unique challenges.
The VA Inspector General found that nearly two-thirds of the housing facilities they reviewed did not provide adequate safety precautions for women, let alone women with small children. The government needs to provide more suitable housing for our female veterans, but they are expected to cut half a trillion dollars in military spending. Most people think that military cuts mean less aircraft carriers and planes, which it does, but there are also a multitude of veterans programs.
The VA has actually proposed a budget of $300 million for grants and technical assistance to community non-profits to help veterans stay in their homes. In comparison, the government gave over $700 billion to Wall Street in the form of bailouts.
Fortunately, where the government lacks, private foundations are helping our veterans. Final Salute Inc. is a foundation started in 2010 by a female veteran and cancer survivor to help female veterans find safe and suitable housing.
Our government and civilians owe it to the brave women–and men–who put their lives on the line (and in many cases gave their lives). Let us not forget them just because they have returned home. They still need our support.