December 4, 2012
California State Library
State Library's California Research Bureau Releases Report:
"California's Women Veterans and Homelessness"
SACRAMENTO – The California Research Bureau of the State Library today released the latest brief on findings from its 2011 survey of women veterans in California. The survey of 843 women veterans found that one in seven had at some point been homeless and more than one in three had unstable housing.
Unemployment is a key precipitate for becoming homeless or having unstable housing. Women veterans in the survey reported a higher rate of unemployment than that of male veterans or the general population. Forty-four percent of unemployed veterans surveyed had unstable housing, which is defined as not having a stable nighttime residence (e.g., "couch surfing").
The brief, which was requested by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, also found divorce to be a precipitate to homelessness. Divorced and single women were more likely to be homeless than their married peers. Trauma, in the form of service-related combat trauma, military sexual trauma or childhood abuse, also may lead to difficulties in maintaining stable housing.
The brief is the seventh in a series of reports based on the 2011 survey, which was requested by the California Department of Veterans Affairs and the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. The survey is one of the first in the nation to shine a light on the issue of homelessness among women veterans.
About the California State Library and California Research Bureau: Founded in 1850, the California State Library is the central reference and research library for the Governor's office, legislature, state employees, and the general public. The California Research Bureau, a division within the State Library, provides in-depth research and nonpartisan public policy analysis to members of the State Legislature and the Governor. For more information, please visit www.library.ca.gov.