HOMELESS VETS. Congress is already worried about veterans returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who simply don't readjust well, but obviously the situation can be more dire than just that. The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing last week to discuss how to prevent homelessness among veterans and the related problem of budget shortfalls faced by the VA. One thing Women's Policy, Inc. pointed out was that the increasing number of women veterans will cause unique challenges:

Vietnam Veterans of America Deputy Director for Policy and Government Affairs Bernard Edelman voiced his support for S. 1384, stating, "[A]s highlighted in the 2006 recommendations made by the [VA] Secretary's Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, a survey of homeless women veterans showed that fewer women veterans are seeking services in VA domiciliary settings and residential treatment facilities because of concerns about safety, privacy, and what is a male-dominated environment. Ideally, separate area/space designed for women veterans will support this need. Flexibility in design will allow appropriate utilization of space. We also advocate that all VA domiciliary settings be evaluated with regard to gender-specific needs related not only to safety and security, but also to positive therapeutic environments and successful treatment modalities."

Current legislation pending in Congress addresses these issues as well as some of the budgetary ones.

--Kay Steiger

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