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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2019 Jun 11. pii: JAAPL.003854-19. doi: 10.29158/JAAPL.003854-19. [Epub ahead of print]

Safer Housing for Homeless Women Veterans.

Author information

1
Dr. Matto is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, CA. Ms. Kim is Special Counsel and Ms. Kristen is Director of the Gender Equity and LGBT Rights Program at Legal Aid at Work, San Francisco, CA. ckim@legalaidatwork.org.
2
Dr. Matto is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, CA. Ms. Kim is Special Counsel and Ms. Kristen is Director of the Gender Equity and LGBT Rights Program at Legal Aid at Work, San Francisco, CA.

Abstract

Homeless women veterans face unique vulnerability and significant mental health needs; it is important for their housing to include gender-specific safety measures. Providers of supportive housing for veterans can take important steps to accommodate the women they serve, including providing separate housing facilities or areas for women. More than half of all homeless women veterans were sexually assaulted during their military service, and many exhibit mental health disabilities as a result, which provides a strong legal basis for requiring gender-based accommodations. While significant progress has been made in addressing the needs of veterans who were sexually assaulted during their military service, the unique needs of homeless women veterans are still often overlooked. This oversight has consequences, particularly in the permanent supportive housing context, where male veterans significantly outnumber female veterans. Currently, there are no required minimum standards or safeguards for serving women veterans in these facilities, and most facilities provide no appropriate gender-specific accommodations. This failure persists despite the significant prior history of sexual assaults among this population and their extremely small number in veteran-only housing. Without basic gender-specific safeguards, permanent supportive housing facilities could worsen the mental health of homeless women veterans and expose them to further harm.

PMID:
31186363
DOI:
10.29158/JAAPL.003854-19

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