Saturday, June 15, 2013

Women veterans navigate benefits, PTSD and homelessness

Women vets navigate benefits, PTSD, homelessness
First State House women vets advocacy day
Christine Lee 22 News State House Correspondent
Friday, 14 Jun 2013

BOSTON (WWLP) - When Fannie Houck was discharged from the navy in 1976, she survived a sexual assault and a helicopter incident that left her disabled and emotionally scarred.

“My PTSD just took over my life and I became homeless,” said Houck.

She applied for help at the Veterans Affairs Department, but navigating the maze of benefits and programs is difficult.

“In 1977, I tried to get services and was told you didn’t have programs like that for women… You reach out for help you don’t get the help… And I feel this is often where suicides come from.”
read more here


  1. Hi Kathie...Thanks for re-posting this article. It mentions that I live on a VA campus and am in a program called Soldier On.

    Soldier On is a not for profit agency that is separate from the VA and is not a VA funded program.

    Soldier On rents buildings on the VA hospital campus. There are currently 12 beds for women veterans and they broke ground for an expansion to include transitional housing for 16 more.

    The above article didn't make that very clear.

    If you or any one else has any questions, please feel free to contact me at

    PTSD took over my life last year. I alienated friends, family and the man I was in a relationship with, when my PTSD event occurred. I was homeless and living in a tent from June through October.

    I had been working with a Homelessness Social Worker for 4 months and wasn't getting very far.

    I contacted Soldier On in late September and within 2 weeks they came to where my tent was in NY and transported me to their facilities in Leeds Ma.

    For the past 8 and a half months they have been instrumental in helping me get my needs met. After decades of skirmishes with the VA I was awarded 70%.

    Someone asked me, how my life would have been different if I had gotten the help I needed in 1977 when I first asked. I was overwhelmed with images of how different it would have been. My son was raised by his father when we separated.I was not financially secure and knew his father could provide more for him than I could. I will never get to do that relationship with my son was forever changed.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing that. Above all, thank you for talking to the reporter on this story. While it must have been hard for you to do, you made a difference to others going through the same things.

  3. Soldier On is COMPLETELY FUNDED by the VA; it's also a "Jesus Saves" Church that MANDATES the veterans convert to the 12-Step religious AA/NA "HIGHER POWER" cults. If a 21 year old veteran drinks one beer, responsibly, THEY ARE THROWN TO THE STREETS and slandered an "ALCOHOLIC"!

  4. Kathie

    Looks like you have found the same kind of courage yourself. As difficult as it is to talk about painful situations in our lives, if something we say can help someone else, it is worth any personal angst we might feel.

    The system is a labyrinth...filled with way to many detours. I, like so many other vets, lose our stamina,when we fight for ourselves. It disgusts me to think, how many of us, give up the battle, give up on ourselves and give up in life.

    Thank you.

  5. Anonymous,

    You are seriously misinformed about Soldier On. Soldier On is most certainly not completely funded by the VA.

    I am grateful that the VA is renting space to Soldier On because it makes accessing services easier for those of us lucky enough to be part of the program.

    Any program/therapeutic community is going to have rules. I signed a contract and agreed to do and not do certain things while a resident here.

    If someone chooses to drink alcohol or use illicit drugs while residing here, they know what the consequence can be. Whether you are or are not an alcoholic, whether you drink or not is your responsibility, it is for the safety of every one in the program that this is asked of us.

    I have not been told that I have to believe in God or Jesus or any other deity, nor have I been told that I must attend AA or NA meetings.

    Part of the contract that I signed also informed me that I was to keep the confidentiality of other residents and to expect my confidentiality to be respected.

    Anonymous, perhaps the problem is not Soldier On...perhaps the problem is the guy or gal you see in the mirror.

    Maybe you might consider that.

  6. People posting as Anonymous feel as if they can say whatever they want. After all, if they really believed in what they post half the time, they would want their name know.

    On the other hand Miz, you should hold your head up high. As for me, not so much. When I started all this way back over 30 years ago, most of us were dealing with believing we had to be ashamed of something. No one was stepping up enough to drown out the bad reports on Vietnam veterans. That took years and a lot of people way more courageous than I was.


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