Excerpt from the statement of Vietnam Veterans of America submitted by Marsha Tansey Four, RN, Chair, Women Veterans Committee before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee on Veterans Affairs.
"Approximately 3 to 4% of the 275,00 homeless veterans across this county are women. Homeless women veterans present different needs with reference to privacy, gender related care, treatment for physical and sexual trauma, and care for dependent children. Due to these compounding issues very few programs are available to serve and appropriately meet the needs of this particular homeless population.
This deficiency in available programs was recognized by Congress, when in FY2000, approximately $2.3 million dollars of the additional $50 million of those funds allocated to VA Homeless Programs were designated and fenced for homeless women veteran projects. Ten Homeless Women Veteran Projects have been selected.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Policy Board determined that this money for homeless women veterans programs would be available and protected, only for FY2000, despite the numerous requests of clinicians and VSO's for a reconsideration of this policy. This places the continuance of these high visibility and desperately needed programs in a rather tenuous position. Their very existence is reliant upon a decision made at the VISN level without guarded assurance of continued funding. There is no promise that funding for this type of program will be committed in the future.
Sadly, needed women veteran specific, homeless programs may never see the light of day because continued funding is in jeopardy. Special Needs Programs take time to develop and thrive. This time is vital in the acquisition of outcome data that will be used to further justify their future existence.
Congress needs to protect money allocated for specific veteran programs. It seems necessary to extend by legislation, the time frame for the protected money of special need programs to three years. Without this extension, an injustice is done to the special program developers, the veterans that are served, and to Congress, whose intention was to make special care and treatment a reality. Without protecting the allocated and appropriated funding for three years, the future of all special needs programs are in jeopardy as displayed in the Policy Board decision of the homeless women veteran projects. Ask congress to consider this issue and bring stability and security to special veteran programs by initiating legislation to resolve this dilemma."
Sadly, in the last ten years the numbers have increased. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans the numbers of female veterans on the streets range from 6,800 to 14,000. This is more than a national disgrace!!
Please support this request by the Vietnam Veterans of America and other organizations that realize this national disgrace.
Full statement can be found at Legislative
Vietnam Veterans of America Website is at VVA
National Coalition for Homeless Vets
Links to more agencies will be added soon.
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