Among homeless veterans, women are the fastest growing group, according to federal housing data.
On a single night in January 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that more than 40,000 veterans were homeless. Of those, about 9 percent, or about 3,600, were women and that number is growing. From 2016 to 2017, the number of homeless women veterans increased by 7 percent, compared to 1 percent of male veterans.
A new bill is hoping to help tackle the problem.
The “Housing for Women Veterans Act,” introduced by Mike Levin, D-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., would allocate at least $20 million to groups aiming to help women veterans and their families.
It also requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to analyze shortfalls in its homelessness programs, specifically with women veterans in mind, and submit a report to Congress within 9 months of the bill’s passage.
Both the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Veterans (AMVETS) support the bill, according to Levin’s office.
“Women servicemembers and their families have sacrificed for our country, and we must do everything we can to prevent them from falling into homelessness when they return to civilian life,” said Levin, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s subpanel on economic opportunity. “This bipartisan bill is a critical step that will help end homelessness among our nation’s heroes and prioritize much-needed funding for women veterans and their families.”
“No veteran should be homeless, and we must take every action possible to ensure we care for those who stepped up to serve our country,” Fitzpatrick said. “This legislation will help address the needs of our women veterans and their families while also helping us identify areas we can improve services focused on helping homeless veterans.”