Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Homeless Female Veterans-Silent Epidemic
by Weiss, Michelle A., D.S.W., University of Southern California, 2020, 55; 27997130
Abstract (Summary)

The American Society of Social Work & Social Welfare created the 12 Grand Challenges of Social Work. The Grand Challenges represent the opportunity to embark on macro changes for the betterment of families, individuals, and society. One of the challenges, End Homelessness reports over a million Americans will experience at a minimum an overnight of homelessness. An episode or more of homelessness can be lifelong and detrimental to the whole person. This approach utilizes effective global methods to develop new service innovations and technologies and implement policies for economically housing the homeless populations (Henwood et al., 2015).

The number of homeless female veterans is steadily increasing among the overall homeless population of Central Texas is such an area. Homelessness among female veterans subject to mental health challenges such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or co-occurring disorders, which lead to difficulties in maintaining productive employment, housing stability, and family contact.

Female Veterans Alliance (FVA) was established in 2012 to assist female veterans in healing their invisible wounds of military service and leading independent lives. This organization is the only female veteran organization designed to serve female veterans on the ground and Capitol Hill. Through this Capstone project, Female Veterans Alliance purpose is to mitigate and prevent homelessness among female veterans and their children by ensuring that they secure shelter while addressing the challenges of unemployment, challenges affecting the family unit, and ensure enhanced mental health status. When achieving the identified purpose within the theory of change conceptual framework, FVA will adopt an innovative Logic Model and is part of the greater homeless veterans’ rehabilitation program aimed at addressing unmet needs for female veterans and their children. The project issue of sheltering homeless female veterans is also one of the policies of the Department of Veteran Affairs-Housing and Urban Development program for supportive housing (HUD-VASH). Guided by the innovative Logic Model, the Capstone will identify and house homeless female veterans. The veterans and their children will then be provided the intensive care aimed at addressing the effects of PTSD, Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and other related mental health issues, barriers to employment, and the unmet promises of postwar government benefits among homeless female veterans.

Once the project is implemented, it is expected that the female veterans who participated in the project will become independent and stable and will be able to find a permanent house. They will also be able to attain proof of income, employment, and educational enrollment. The project implementation also aims at creating a safe and stable environment for the family unit. This will be achieved by running a pilot extension over ten single homes where only female veterans with not more than two children under the age of 18 years old will be rehabilitated. Within the Village, the veterans and their children will be offered intensive case management services, supportive counseling services, financial training, and life skills training by various partners for two years.

The proposed project implementation is limited by resources such as finances, which makes it unable to accommodate more deserving female veterans. Future work should, therefore, focus on enhancing the capacity of similar projects to enroll more homeless female veterans. The focus should be on bringing on board more stakeholders who are willing to finance the project and by developing ways of achieving self-sufficiency.

The innovative collaboration and involvement of various stakeholders and care providers in the management of the challenges faced by homeless female veterans have vital implications in addressing homelessness and mental health issues among female veterans. Based on the adopted innovative step, it is evident that a social problem is adequately addressed by strategies that not only focus on the challenge alone but also on the underlying causes. Therefore, adopting holistic approaches that aim at improving the quality of life is recommended.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bolar, Eleanor
Commitee: Enrile, Annalisa, James, Jane
School: University of Southern California
Department: Social Work
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Military studies, Womens studies
Keywords: Female Veterans, Homelessness, Housing First, Military Sexual Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Supportive Housing
Publication Number: 27997130
ISBN: 9798662474963
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