Recent war veterans are facing a new problem in their homeland: it’s not lack of veteran pay or even health care benefits. The latest social issue on the home front for women who’ve served their country is homelessness.
According to recent statistics, there are almost 7,000 female war veterans in the United States with no place to call home. Not only are those figures disgusting, but it hits close to home for me; my father is a three-war veteran and although he’s over fifty-five and has a secure place to live with lucrative benefits and opportunities, not as many are as lucky as he. I know that I’d certainly keel over if I thought that my father, who served his country honorably and unwaveringly, were going to be out on his ass if it came down to it.
ABC News recently interviewed various homeless female veterans on the issue and many of them state that there’s far too little funding available for programs that would provide war vets with halfway-home type abodes for women in transition from battle time to life in their home countries. Dr. Diane West, a woman who runs a program in Long Beach, California states:
“Right now we have a program for up to 30 women veterans and I have a waiting list all the time,” West said. “The women are coming back and they’re depressed. Some of them are suicidal. Some of them don’t know how to parent at all and they can be abusive to their own children.”
Another issue that should be taken into consideration is the problem of another woman interviewed, Mickieala Montoya. Montoya states that despite her honorable background in serving the US Military, she is unable to secure a job due to the fact that she has a young child at home and no support system. Montoya states that during a recent visit to her local VA, she was advised that because her child was not a veteran, there would be no help in providing reliable day care for her daughter. Needless to say, Montoya feels that her seven-plus years of service in the military have been in vain.
This entire situation is absolutely appalling and I think it even reaches far beyond just female veterans, naturally. For every female in the military, there are probably twice as many men serving in an active duty status and that can only mean that there are more than likely twice the amount of homeless male veterans, too. While I’m all for equal rights for women, of course, I think that this is an all-encompassing issue; not one that only affects women and their children, but single fathers and fathers who are in charge of supporting a family unit as well.
The bottom line is that maybe we should start worrying about things other than bank bailouts, mega-magnate mergers and the rising cost of plastic surgery; there are far more disconcerting things going on in this country than just these afterthoughts. Want to do your part? Fork over some of that cash you were saving for a boob job to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans … it’ll save more than you think.