BY KATE O’HARE-PALMER, CHAIR
According to the last study by Service Women’s Action Network, the top priorities for women veterans include mental health, financial stability, and connecting to a community of fellow women veterans. Their other concerns include access to women-specific health care and navigating the VA claims and health care system. Current legislative bills addressing some of these concerns include: H.R.4635, which directs the VA to ensure that the veterans peer counseling program includes a sufficient number of counselors for women (S.2402 is its Senate counterpart); H.R.4099, which amends Title 38, U.S. Code, to ensure that children of homeless veterans are included in the calculation of the amounts of certain per diem grants; and H.R.4334, the Improving Oversight of Women Veterans’ Care Act of 2017.
These bills should be monitored; they have all been referred to committees with no further action. Now, more than ever, we need to let our voices be heard in Congress and the VA. More than 50 percent of younger women veterans use the VA health care system. Homelessness among women veterans is on the rise. This is complicated by the fact that many women veterans seeking housing have minor children and are not eligible for traditional shelters.
Springtime is usually when history departments cover the Vietnam War in high schools and community colleges. Your local VVA chapter’s education committee is always looking for women to join in and share their military experiences.
This year is the 40th anniversary of VVA. We will focus on women’s roles in the history of VVA with stories in The Veteran. If you have some ’80s or ’90s memories of your involvement in VVA, please write to me or to Michael Keating.
We also are developing a VVA reception for the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. It will be held in D.C. on November 9 at 5 p.m. Information on tickets sales will be posted on our webpage and on the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation Events page.