After leaving the service, many female veterans find themselves facing a number of challenges leading to homelessness. These challenges include unemployment, underemployment, lack of affordable family housing, poverty, and lack of programs to meet their specific needs.   Experts who work with these female veterans state that these challenges can be greater for women who have experienced the trauma of military sexual abuse (the Service Women’s Action Network or SWAN has a legal and social service helpline at 1-888-729-2089 or helpline@servicewomen.org). Nationally, women veterans make up 10% of the 141,000 veterans who spent at least one night in a shelter in 2011; this is up from 7.5% in 2009. While North Carolina has the sixth largest female veteran population in the country (i.e., 87,840 women veterans), it is not clear how many women comprise the 1,413 homeless veterans that were identified in the 2013 point-in-time count since gender-specific information is not provided.

Female veterans seeking assistance with housing resources can visit wvss-nc.org/wp/, www.nrd.gov/homeless_assistance/states_and_territories/north_carolina, or www.va.gov/homeless/for_women_veterans.asp for a list of programs developed to address their specific needs.

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