They're 7,000 miles away from home, living in barracks in the desert and fighting terrorists to protect America's freedom. On top of dodging bullets and bombs, many female soldiers spend their days worrying about the civilian lives they left behind. Their children, bills, jobs and day-to-day responsibilities weigh heavily on their hearts.
Many female veterans find themselves facing harsh realities like homelessness when they return home. Experts believe there are at least 6,500 female veterans sleeping in cars, shelters or on the streets every night.
"The number of female veterans has doubled in the last decade," says Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In fact, she says female soldiers are two times more likely to become homeless than male veterans.
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"We really see the problem of homelessness among veterans as a national shame," Tammy says. "We are all dishonored anytime a veteran sleeps on the very same streets that he or she has defended."