This collection brings together valuable insights from nonprofit organizations, foundations, and government agencies that work directly with veterans in communities across the country. The works collected here provide a deeper understanding of the problems many veterans and their families face and also potential solutions to address these very real challenges. The collection is broken into five key areas where veterans are facing obstacles and where nonprofits and foundations have been focusing their efforts.

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"Soldiers" by Adam Baker licensed under CC NC 2.0

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The Changing Face of America's Veteran Population

November 10, 2017

There were around 20.4 million U.S. veterans in 2016, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, representing less than 10% of the total U.S. adult population. As Americans observe Veterans Day, here are key facts about those who have served in the military and how this population is changing.

Health of Women Who have Served report 2017

November 2, 2017

America's Health Rankings® and America's Health Rankings® Health of Women Who Have Served Report are built upon the World Health Organization definition of health: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and socialwell-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Our model reflects that determinants of health—Behaviors, Clinical Care, Policy, and Community and Environment—directly influence health outcomes.

Building Strong Programs and Policies to Support Women Veterans

March 1, 2015

A briefing paper from the Women Veterans in Transition Pilot Research Study

Understanding the Complexity of Women Veterans’ Career Transitions

March 1, 2015

Understanding the Complexity of Women Veterans' Career Transitions

Military Spouse Employment Report

February 1, 2014

According to data from the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), there were approximately 725,877 spouses of DoD Active Duty members and approximately 413,295 spouses of Reserve and Guard members in 2010. According to the Veterans Administration's (VA) 2010 National Survey of Veterans, it is estimated that there are more than 15 million veterans' spouses in the United States and more than 5.8 million surviving spouses of veterans in the U.S. Studies by RAND (2004) have shown that female Armed Forces spouses are employed at lower rates and earn less than female civilian spouses, on average. Female civilian spouses with the same characteristics as female Armed Forces spouses have better employment outcomes than the average female Armed Forces spouse. RAND (2004) has also shown that female Armed Forces spouses are employed at lower rates and earn less than female civilian spouses, on average. In this study, the majority of Armed Forces spouses believe that the military lifestyle -- including frequent moves, deployments, living in areas with poor local labor market conditions, and long hours that keep service members from assisting with parenting -- has negatively affected their employment opportunities. Almost half believe that their educational opportunities have suffered. Armed Forces spouses work for different reasons, based on their own education level, their service member's pay grade, and their financial situation. Another study by the Department of the Treasury and the DoD (2012), using data from 2008 DMDC survey, found that nearly 35 percent of Armed Forces spouses in the labor force require licenses or certification for their profession, and that Armed Forces spouses are ten times more likely to have moved across state lines in the last year compared to their civilian counterparts, further complicating this need for licensing or certification. The overarching objective of this research project was to evaluate the cumulative economic impact on Armed Forces spouses who may be unable to sustain employment due to Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, licensure constraints, and lack of career enhancing opportunities. This research project contributes to a body of knowledge that provides policy makers with the information necessary to pool resources for military families and spouses, in order to increase the spouses' chances of obtaining steady employment, earning wages equivalent to those of their civilian peers, and advancing along professional career paths in spite of PCS moves. This research effort will benefit society at large through expanding the knowledge base of challenges for working spouses and working parents and will identify areas for improvement in public policy that can benefit working families. This research will drive new policies and initiatives that will provide benefits to all military spouses and families by providing them with resources to overcome the economic challenges of pursuing a career as a military spouse or a military spouse with children.

Education & Employment

Homelessness and Trauma in the Lives of Women Veterans

November 1, 2013

This fact sheet is intended to raise awareness of the prevalence and impact of trauma in the lives of womenVeterans, particularly those experiencing homelessness. Included is a discussion of trauma-informed care, anorganizational response to meeting the unique needs of this population.

A National Summit on Women Veteran Homelessness: A Leadership Dialogue

May 1, 2013

The National Summit on Women Veteran Homelessness brought together noted researchers, policy and practice experts, and women veterans with the lived experience of homelessness in a day and a half of facilitated dialogue sessions. Our purpose was threefold. First, we wanted to call attention to the growing national problem of homelessness among women veterans. Second, we wanted to better understand the unique challenges facing women veterans who have lost their homes or are at risk of homelessness. Finally, we sought to gather information and ideas for solutions to prevent and end homelessness among women veterans. Rich information was obtained from these sessions that will help us to understand the complex conditions that can result in women veteran homelessness, isolate the key areas where action to remediate the issues is required and create comprehensive and sustainable solutions that reduce the risk of women veteran homelessness and help those who are already homeless to achieve full reintegration into their communities. This report begins with a summary of presentations delivered by three experts who provided background on the demographics of homeless veterans, key programs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a research perspective on the challenges homeless women veterans face and litigation and advocacy as tools for change. The core of the report, called the Summit Dialogue Sessions, summarizes three roundtable discussions centered on the following themes: 1) pathways to homelessness for women veterans; 2) strategies for exiting homelessness; and 3) approaches to preventing women veterans from falling into homelessness. The report then turns attention to the list of actionable tasks which grew out of the roundtables, as well as two facilitated "fishbowls" in which subgroups of Summit participants explored specific issues related to policy, practice and research. Together, these offer not only a record of the work accomplished at the Summit, but also a pathway to future research, policy and program initiatives that hold the hope and potential for preventing and ending women veteran homelessness.

Poverty & Homelessness; Women Veterans

Strategies for Serving Our Women Veterans

May 1, 2012

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to transformation, with the aim of becoming an increasingly Veteran-centric, results-oriented, and forward-looking organization. In line with this commitment, Secretary Shinseki called for the formation of a Womens Veterans Task Force (WVTF) in July 2011, to be charged with developing a comprehensive VA action plan for resolving gaps in how our organization serves women Veterans. As an interim deliverable, the WVTF developed this draft strategy report to solicit stakeholder feedback on its initial findings and recommendations. Based on public comments to this draft, the WVTF will finalize its recommendations and develop a detailed action plan for implementation.The urgency of this effort is acute, given the rapid growth of the women Veteran population.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation; Women Veterans

Women in the U.S. Military: Growing Share, Distinctive Profile

December 22, 2011

The women who serve in today's military differ from the men who serve in a number of ways. Compared with their male counterparts, a greater share of military women are black and a smaller share are married. Also, women veterans of the post-9/11 era are less likely than men to have served in combat and more likely to be critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other ways, however, military women are not different from military men: they are just as likely to be officers; they joined the armed services for similar reasons; and post-9/11 veterans of both sexes have experienced a similar mix of struggles and rewards upon returning to civilian life. Since 1973, when the United States military ended conscription and established an all-volunteer force, the number of women serving on active duty has risen dramatically. The share of women among the enlisted ranks has increased seven-fold, from 2% to 14%, and the share among commissioned officers has quadrupled, from 4% to 16%.Department of Defense policy prohibits the assignment of women to any "unit below brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat." While this policy excludes women from being assigned to infantry, special operations commandos and some other roles, female members of the armed forces may still find themselves in situations that require combat action, such as defending their units if they come under attack.2This report explores the changing role of women in the military using several data sources. Two Department of Defense publications -- Population Representation in the Military Forces, FY2010 and Demographics 2010: Profile of the Military Community -- provide the overall trends in military participation by gender, as well as demographic and occupational profiles of male and female military personnel. The report also draws on data from two surveys of military veterans: a Pew Research Center survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,853 veterans conducted July 28-Sept. 4, 2011, and the July 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS) Veterans Supplement (n=9,739 veterans).

Women Veterans

Trauma Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

July 5, 2011

The number of women in the military -- both active duty and veteran populations -- is growing rapidly. They face unusual challenges because of their military experiences and for many, multiple roles as breadwinner, parent, and spouse. Often their return to civilian life is difficult. An estimated 75,609 veterans are homeless, sheltered or unsheltered, on any given night. Women were 10,214 (7.5%) of the 136,334 homeless veterans who were sheltered sometime between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009 (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). Female veterans have a greater risk of homelessness compared to their civilian counterparts. Risk of homelessness for recent veterans, particularly women who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, is increasing.The experience of trauma prior to enlistment coupled with trauma experienced while in uniform is a common denominator among homeless female veterans. Research suggests that 81-93% of female veterans have been exposed to some type of trauma, significantly higher rates than the civilian population (Zinzow et al., 2007). Traumatic experiences include childhood abuse and neglect, domestic violence, military sexual trauma, and combat-related stress. These experiences have a significant impact on mental and physical health, family relationships, and housing and job stability. Trauma Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness is designed to be used by community-based service agencies that work with homeless female veterans in a variety of settings (e.g., emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters, transitional and supportive housing programs, outpatient settings). Leaders within these organizations who are looking to improve their effectiveness in engaging the female veterans they serve can use this guide to begin the process of becoming trauma-informed.

Poverty & Homelessness; Women Veterans

Joining Forces for Women Veterans

March 15, 2011

Based on a 2010 conference, outlines findings related to women veterans' needs, including issues of family and community reintegration, homelessness, and employment. Makes recommendations for research, policies and practices, and programs and services.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation; Women Veterans

Women Warriors: Supporting She 'Who Has Borne the Battle'

October 1, 2009

While new positionsw and doors of opportunity have been opened for women in the services, they still face significant, unique challenges. Career progression is often slower for women and they are underrepresented in the military's senior ranks. Challenges for women with young children and a perceived lack of opportunity for advancement have led many women to leave the service early in their careers. Inadequate military health care for women and staggering rates of sexual assault and harassment are also hindering some female troops from continuing their military careers. These challenges are not only bad for servicemembers' well-being and reflect the military's failure to properly protect its own, but they have a substantial impact on the mission readiness of the overall force. When they come home, female veterans are confronted with new challenges. While it has made strides in recent years, the VA is still underprepared to provide adequate care to the surge of female veterans coming to its hospitals and clinics. In addition, women veterans face significant barreiers when entering the civilian workforce, and homeless rsates among female veterans are on the rise. Given the lack of support services for our women veterans, this comes as no surprise. Female troops and veterans deserve the same access to high-quality health care, transitional resources, and benefits as their male counterparts. After honorably fighting abroad, they should not have to wage new battles here at home. In order to fully honor their outstanding contributions to the military and service to the country, much more must be done to support our women veterans.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation; Women Veterans