By Jake Hughes
Female veterans are the highest growing homeless population in America.
Jaspen Boothe, a disabled Army veteran experienced this firsthand after her combat deployment to Iraq.
“We live in a world where IEDs don’t discriminate, but we can come back to American soil and face gender discrimination, which leads to a lack of supportive services for women,” said Boothe, founder of Final Salute, a nonprofit that provides housing to female veterans.
Boothe first encountered a problem with care for female veterans in 2005. While living in New Orleans, she received the call to deploy to Iraq and while she was deployed, she lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.
One month later, Boothe was diagnosed with aggressive stage two cancer. After months of surgery and radiation therapy, she was discharged from the military and told to go to the VA for care.
As a 28-year-old, Boothe found herself jobless, homeless and struggling to provide for her child, she went to the VA, only to learn there were no programs designed for female veterans. Furthermore, not every VA medical center has the equipment for breast exams and other preventative care women need. Due to these and other problems, females are two to three times more likely to become homeless than males, and 70% are single mothers.
What’s more, not every VA medical center has the equipment for breast exams and other preventative care women need. Due to these and other problems, females are two to three times more likely to become homeless than males, and 70% are single mothers.
Final Salute aims to change that by offering programs and assistance to female veterans who are homeless or close to becoming homeless.
According to their website, the Housing Outreach Mentorship Encouragement, or H.O.P.E., provides transitional housing, on-site case management, food, clothing, transportation, child care subsidy/assistance, employment support and other essential support services to homeless women vets and their children.
The annual Stand-Up event offers women free dress attire, makeovers, image consulting, and more to help them find employment. They also provide valuable financial education resources on saving, budgeting and living on a fixed income.
“Whether you are male or female, homelessness is something we were never trained for,” says Boothe. “We need to be more proactive for our veterans.”
If you or someone you know could benefit from the services of Final Salute, you can find them online at www.finalsaluteinc.org, or call them at 703-224-8845.
In 2013, Boothe and her nonprofit Final Salute were profiled as CNN Heroes: