Wednesday, December 21, 2016

REAL TALK ON IGNORED FEMALE VETERANS

Typically veterans are recognized on November 11, so to me, that kicks off the Holiday Season.  I haven't figured out yet why no one notices them the rest of the year. We receive free food, free oil changes, and discounts on many services.  But did you know that during the rest of the year, Golden Corral, Food Lion, Family Dollar and other well known stores don't offer deals to those who have served in the military?  Even worse, Wal-mart doesn't ever provide military discounts! 


It's wonderful to see the spirit of giving during November and December,  and so many families are being helped. Yet I can't stop thinking about all of the female veterans in the United States who are homeless or victims of domestic violence. Women have come home from the service with PTSD, no limbs, divorced, abused and more.  Then they have to fight like mad to get disability, because they have no funds to live on.  They're afraid, lonely and frustrated.


Despite being a veteran for years, I had absolutely no idea until 2015 of what goes on behind the scenes with women who have no place to call home.


In the state of North Carolina, Volunteers of America is one of the most used agencies for veterans who are homeless, and they will pay rent, which is fantastic.  For those who are unfortunate enough to not have found a job at the end of 9 months, those women are then unceremoniously kicked out of the program with less than 30 days notice.  Never mind that in addition to having no income, she is now once again on the road to homelessness, told to seek community resources.  Incredibly, this woman never hears from Volunteers of America again.  This happens with Family Endeavors as well! For women who may have an illness, addictions, loss of income, or simply chronically homeless, there is a government program called HUD-VASH. This program  pays rent forever unless the veteran's circumstances change.  It sounds simple, but I assure you, it's not.  Single women are authorized to receive rent of $700 per month with no more than 2 bedrooms.  If they are already living in a home that happens to have more than 2 bedrooms, that veteran must vacate the premises and find a new place. WTF! Now the landlord is pissed off because his rent isn't being paid, and the tenant is in danger of eviction through no fault of her own. He has no desire to wait while she finds a new home. She has a certain amount of time to find a new place and to have it inspected, yet no new homes are available.  
Even worse, most landlords don't accept housing vouchers for veterans despite receiving guaranteed monthly payment.  Before we know it, this woman is living out of her car, in a roach-ridden shelter or on a relative's couch - again.  I don't get how these processes are helping to end homelessness. How can we have such positive resources at the beginning that end so horribly for these women?

It's almost 2017, and we may assume that everyone has access to various forms of communication to get help.  The reality is that many women may not  have computer access, or can't use one at home for fear of being discovered by an abusive spouse.  They're embarrassed to visit the library because they haven't showered in days, or don't have laptops or android phones. There is a tremendous amount of research needed to get assistance that is totally unbelievable! If these women are able to use Internet or phones for brief periods, this is what happens:

*  Websites that are broken
* Unreturned telephone calls or emails
* Passing the buck to someone else
* Closed Programs
* Frequent Lack of Communication

How dare  anyone state that the homelessness rate is decreasing. These women are on the street and so frustrated, that no one hears from them to get an accurate picture of what's really going on. They don't have Christmas trees or gifts, their families are ready for them to leave that couch, and they are living in their cars at night hoping that no one will bother them while trying to sleep in the cold.


Someone you know is crying silently, praying for a miracle.  A woman at work with is ashamed to tell you that she can't find a place to live.  Their credit is ruined, and they owe everyone money. Surely there are landlords out there who have homes to rent, giving these women the chance they deserve to be safe and secure.There is a success story waiting to be told that can help the next group of women.  These women served their country and shouldn't have to live like this. 

What the world needs now is more love, and love and love.


Volunteers of America    919-831-9042   Raleigh
                                        252-985-0230   Rocky Mount
                                        919-477-9005   Durham

Housing/Job Assistance:  https://www.hudexchange.info/housing-and-homeless-assistance/

www.nchousingsearch.org,  www.passagehome.org, nchfa.com, http://www.nchousing.org/

www.militarywomeninneed.org

Durham VAMC/HUD-Vash  919-286-0411, ext 7065

Sometimes they'll support with funds, but it's difficult to reach these people, and I can't say they are 100% reliable.  But it may be worth it to check with the DAV (Disabled Veterans) in various areas.  They may have some funding to help with housing or utilities.


Benita Koeman - Founder - Fantastic Advocate!

National Home Military & Veteran Family Hotline  1-800-313-4200

www.nchv.org - upper management doesn't respond by phone or email (National Colation for Homeless Veterans)






14 comments:

  1. Ro this is sad and quite scary... I am in awe of what people have to deal with... When I read stories like this it reminds me that my little problems are nothing compared to theirs. I hope that things change for these people for we could become one of them easily... xox

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    1. Hey There Lovely Launna and hope all is well. Once I did the research, I was truly and still am shocked over what happens behind the scenes, and most of it can be avoided. As women, we all have stories to tell to help each other get through the pain, and come out on the good side. BIG Hugs...RO

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  2. Yes, the runaround is awful and you nailed it- that person only has so many minutes on a pre-paid, so many minutes on a library computer, and they can't reach anyone. I am honored when through my job I can take their information, sit at my computer or on my office phone and get through all that with them- but I have to know about them and these folks are the quiet ones. My heart aches. Thanks for sharing about the hurting ones in our community, Ro.

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    Replies
    1. Sophia, you are one of the super ones for having the time and patience that it takes to help. I know your clients must love you! So much red tape, and wasted time for these women, and it's a nightmare! You're right, some are too shy or embarrassed, and don't seek help. I'm sending cyber hugs your way and many thanks! RO

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  3. That is horrible how women veterans are treated and really veterans in general. Did you know that CVS has dropped Tricare? It's maddening especially since CVS is typically one of the few options available in small towns.This seems to be such an ignored issue and one I hope receives not just more attention but more ACTION in the future.

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    1. You'd be amazed, Katherine how these programs work, and I wish this blog somehow makes it to the people in charge. I had no idea about CVS, and that's totally ridiculous!!!!! What in the world is going on? I will check our CVS here. You're right. At this point, actions speak so much louder than words. Hugs...

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  4. That's just not right. I've heard all kinds of horror stories about the VA so I'm sure that any other Veterans services aren't much better. Veterans shouldn't be treated that way.

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    1. It's sad, Mary. The things you've heard are bad, but living it is even worse. You're right, so much goes on behind closed doors that no one ever hears about. I just don't get it. Hugs...

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  5. It's sad all the way around. I'm sure it's probably frustrating to volunteers as well not being able to do enough fast enough. Would be nice if someone could find the perfect solution for everyone.

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    1. Volunteers are awesome and work their butts off, and they often get stuck in impossible situations. But they aren't the ones who control the processes or the finances. I just wish someone in control would take 2 days to walk around with a female vet who is homeless or in danger of being homeless to see how it really works behind the scenes. Those are the peeps I'm reaching out to. I continue to pray for blessings and solutions, too. HUGE Hugs...RO

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  6. Thank you, RO, for posting on this important issue.

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    1. Hugs Angela and hope your weekend and Christmas is fab!

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    2. I just wish more people were aware of this craziness! Hugs...

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