West Philly facility focuses on helping homeless female veterans

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The number of homeless female veterans is on the rise in the U.S. But one Philadelphia nonprofit agency continues to work to change that.

Impact Services is a nonprofit that provides temporary housing, workforce and community development programs for the homeless. At its University City facility called HAVEN Women, the focus is on helping homeless female veterans.

"Contrary to what people might think, veteran women do experience homelessness every single day,” explained Marketta Kelly, the organization’s director of veteran services.

While the majority of veterans are men, she said,  they have found that over the years, “an increasing number of women face homelessness every single day.”

It's estimated that veteran women are more than twice as likely as non-veteran women to experience homelessness.

“Studies show many experience mental health or drug and alcohol concerns. These concerns, compounded with strained relationships and poverty, increases the veteran to become more likely and susceptible to homelessness,” Kelly said.

HAVEN, which stands for Helping Achieve Veteran Empowerment Now, has room for about 12 women. Right now, nine live at the transitional housing unit.

With help from donors, mentors and volunteers, Kelly said HAVEN provides a safe and respectful place for these female war veterans.

To make sure this community doesn't feel left out as Thanksgiving approaches, Kelly said they are working with a local restaurant to make sure each person gets a delicious meal.

“Through it all, these war veterans who fought for our country are finding a bright spot in their community,” she said, "They see each other as a family.”