One woman’s quest to help identify and fix the growing problem of homeless female vets

1000w q953 One womans quest to help identify and fix the growing problem of homeless female vets

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Frankie Donavon, an aerospace medical technician with the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, checks a homeless veteran’s blood pressure during Stand Down 2017 at the All Wars Memorial Building in Atlantic City, N.J., May 17, 2017. (New Jersey National Guard photo by Mark C. Olsen/Released)

By Eric Dehm

Women are the largest growing segment of the homeless veterans population with limited understanding why.

Good thing for journalist, Harvard graduate and veterans advocate Lily Casura, who is working diligently to gather as much data as she can regarding our women veterans.

“The goal of my research,” Casura says, “is to attempt to fill a gap in knowledge about how and why women veterans may experience periods of housing instability and what accommodations they make during these periods of precarious housing.”

Casura says female veterans face unique challenges, and says the current system is not set up with the woman veteran in mind.

Not only do we not know how many there are, but women veterans are less likely to be homeless in quite the same way as men — as they don’t often fit the “stereotypical” homeless vet living on the streets or in a shelter.

“The way that the federal government estimates the number of homeless veterans there are? It’s pretty much guesswork,” Casura says. “And they do it in a way that wouldn’t easily find women veterans because they are looking for them outside, or they’re looking for them at shelters. Those are ways women don’t choose to be homeless for various reasons, and so what’s happened is, the count of how many are out there is super low, which leads people to believe it’s not an issue.”

She says the only way to combat something is to find out everything you can about it, and that’s why she created a survey, which she encourages people to share.

Read more of her work at

Connect: @EricDehm |

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