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Homeless female U.S. veterans in a national supported housing program: comparison of individual characteristics and outcomes with male veterans.

Tsai J, Rosenheck RA, Kane V. Homeless female U.S. veterans in a national supported housing program: comparison of individual characteristics and outcomes with male veterans. Psychological Services. 2014 Aug 1; 11(3):309-16.

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Abstract:

As more women serve in the U.S. military, the proportion of females among homeless veterans is increasing. The current study compares the individual characteristics and 1-year outcomes of homeless female and male veterans in the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program nationally. Administrative data on 43,853 veterans (10.69% females; 89.31% males) referred to HUD-VASH were analyzed for gender differences at baseline and over a 1-year period. Homeless female veterans were younger, had shorter homeless and incarceration histories, and were less likely to have substance use disorders than men. However, despite being less likely to report combat exposure, female veterans were more likely to have posttraumatic stress disorder. Homeless female veterans were also much more likely to have dependent children with them and to plan to live with family members in supported housing. Once admitted to HUD-VASH, there were no gender differences in attrition or main housing outcomes. Case managers were faster to admit female veterans to the program, reported better working alliances, and provided more services related to employment and income than male veterans. These findings suggest homeless female veterans may have certain strengths, including being younger, less involved in the criminal justice system, and more adept at relating to professional and natural supports; but special attention to noncombat trauma and family-oriented services may be needed.





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