HAVEN Women, which stands for Helping Achieve Veteran Empowerment Now, only opened in May for 12 female vets.
Dana Spain, HAVEN president, said after meeting with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Multi-Service Center in Philly, the urgency for a place like HAVEN became very apparent.
"It became clear that the real need for beds for homeless veterans were more and more for female veterans who had fewer and fewer choices than their male counterparts," she said.
Female vets are the fastest growing segment of the homeless and veteran populations, according to Spain. She said the VA is still on a learning curve when it comes to dealing with the needs of female vets.
"We offer a safe, sober environment for our women, the majority of whom are suffering from PTSD, some of whom have military sexual trauma, a good portion of whom are in recovery from some sort of addiction," she explained.
The shelter, located on Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia, has received a $100,000 grant from the Coles House Fund through the Philadelphia Foundation, which will go toward operations like paying for electricity and heat.
“And the physical plant in the best possible condition,” she continued, “and also a good supply of fresh food and proteins and all of the enrichment programs.”
Spain said the grant will also allow then to teach financial literacy to residents, including budgeting. Vets usually stay at HAVEN for six to nine months before they eventually transition to an independent life.