Mickiela Montoya is a 25-year-old Iraqi war veteran and single mother who's also had trouble finding housing. "I decided to join the military at 17 when my grandma passed away," Mickiela says. "Anything that you would have from a parent, I was seeking it from the military. Serving the country, I was proud to do that."
In 2002, Mickiela joined the California National Guard. She was deployed to Iraq two years later to serve as a military police officer at a checkpoint. "It was so scary because I wasn't even trained for the things that I was doing," she says.
Even though Mickiela's unit was shot at nightly, she says her worst night was when a fellow soldier threatened to rape her. "I think it still affects me, so I carry the knives with me," Mickiela says. "It's like a security thing."