Federal investigators from the Department of Veterans Affairs have raised concerns for the safety of female vets living in homeless shelters, many of which have only been approved for men. The shelters in question are part of a federally-subsidized program that received $217 million in 2011 to work in concert with the VA. In several instances, VA medical staff members unwittingly helped house women in shelters that had been approved for men only.
Some unsettling inadequacies that investigators found included insecure bathroom door locks and insufficient barriers separating male and female dormitories. In a facility that had housed 22 women going back to 2002, women with documented histories of sexual abuse and domestic violence shared a very permeable living quarters (including a bathroom) with men with criminal histories of substance abuse, assault, and, in one instance, homicide. At another equally thoughtless shelter, a woman and her 18-month-old son were housed with a registered male sex offender (though they had the luxury of a locking bedroom door). Some of the 6 women who had been recommended to another shelter housing 32 men also expressed their safety concerns to investigators.
VA officials have said that they have already taken steps to rectify the glaring dangers to former female service members, many of who are forced by injury or illness to rely on the VA for care, hoping that they're not dropped into living quarters where their safety is only ever tenuous.