Nationwide, the fight against veteran homelessness has been under way for some time now, and is generally going well in all states trying to combat the problem. Now, a new measure in Hawaii would turn special attention in this battle to dealing with female veterans, as they are unfortunately among the fastest-growing groups in homeless populations across the country.
Specifically, the bill now being considered in the Hawaii legislature would create and fund a position in the Hawaii Office of Veterans Services for a full-time counselor to deal particularly solely with female former servicemembers who served active duty, according to a report from Stars and Stripes. Originally, this position was built into the budget request for the government agency, but it was denied. Now, with growing recognition of the problem, lawmakers are stepping in.
In addition, now that the military allows women to fight on the front lines, it's expected that the number of female veterans coming home with physical or mental scars will increase, the report said. To that end, adding this position now may help the Aloha State to get out in front of what could become a major issue. Further, anecdotal evidence suggests that female servicemembers don't always know about the veterans benefits they may have available to them.
"They're a growing minority," Ann Greenlee, Hawaii State Director for the Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service, told the newspaper. "I would hope that in 10 or 20 years, we wouldn't need the position because women wouldn't be considered a minority."
Hawaii is hardly the only state dealing with this issue, and the more that can be done to meet it head on, the better off female veterans are going to be across the country going forward.