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Men, women equally likely to use VA homeless services

thumbnail Veteran Gladys Colon (right) is seen at a VA clinic geared to Veterans coping with homelessness.
(Photo by Frank Curran)

Investigators with VA and Yale University found that male and female Veterans who use VA care are equally likely to access a VA homelessness program.

They studied a national population of 445,319 Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who had at least one VA clinic visit between October 2001 and September 2009. About 12 percent were women.

Of this total patient sample, more than 7,000 had used a VA homeless program, such as HUD-VA supported housing.

Of these Veterans, 961 were women—1.8 percent of the total group of 53,650 female VA users during the study period—and 6,470 were men, about 1.7 percent of the total population of 391,669 male VA users during the study period. In other terms, roughly the same percentage of men and women used a VA homeless program.

The researchers concluded that "overall, there was no substantial difference in the sex-specific risk of using a VA homeless program. In light of this finding, VHA homeless programs must be prepared to recognize the unique needs of female OEF/OIF Veterans." (Medical Care, April 2012)

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