Online Program

Homelessness risk among women veterans

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, Ph.D., MPA, MSSW, U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Philadelphia, PA
Melissa Dichter, MSW, Ph.D, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
Homelessness persists as a public health problem in the United States and is associated with many negative health, economic, and social outcomes. One group that is overrepresented within the homeless population is U.S. Veterans: on one day in January 2012, more than 62,000 Veterans were homeless. Although only 8% of homeless Veterans are female, their risk of homelessness is three times that of non-Veterans. Prior research has identified violence and abuse as precursors to homelessness among women in general and female Veterans specifically; other risk factors include adolescent childbearing, low-wage employment or unemployment, lack of affordable housing, disability, poor health, and post-traumatic stress or anxiety disorder.

To identify Veterans at risk of homelessness—or experiencing homelessness but not accessing services—the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans developed a hospital-based universal screen for housing instability and risk. During its first quarter of implementation, this screen was administered to almost 1.4 million Veterans seeking primary care services, more than 107,000 of whom were female. These initial data indicate that female Veterans were more likely than male Veterans to report homelessness (1.1% vs. 0.9%) and risk for homelessness (1.8% vs. 1.2%).

Using data collected during the first year of implementation of this universal screener—as well as information from Veterans' electronic medical records—this presentation will discuss gender differences in demographic characteristics, clinical characteristics, and health services utilization patterns for Veterans at risk of homelessness. These findings will inform strategies specifically for homelessness prevention interventions for female Veterans.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare rates of homelessness and homelessness risk among Veterans by gender. Identify risk factors for homelessness among female Veterans. Formulate intervention strategies to identify and prevent homelessness among female Veterans.

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceived the study and participated in data collection and analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.