5K 4 Fighters' Race
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After feeling like you constantly have to prove yourself, many women veterans will not even self-identify, as it is easier, and less embarrassing to admit they are veterans. There is a stigmatism amongst us that says while a male veteran is a hero, a woman must have something wrong with her, if she made the choice to serve. The last thing these women then want to do, is ask for help. Thus creating a growing demographic of homeless veterans, with an even greater suicide rate.
Suffolk County alone has 75,000 veterans registered. If even 10% of that are women, that means there are 7,500 women, in our community. Recent research has showed that while the entire veteran population is set to decrease over the next 25 years the women veterans will increase significantly, and steadily, with the projected level to be at 2.4 million women veterans, by 2040. That’s in less than 25 years.
Veteran women, are more than twice likely as non –veterans women and over 3 times as likely as non-veteran women living in poverty to experience homelessness. That number also jumps, depending on other risk factors, such as younger ages, being unmarried, unemployment, having a service connected disability or having been a victim of MST, or diagnosed with PTSD. Today, we are focused on raising awareness, and changing the vision of how our women veterans are viewed.
Long Island has limited resources and programs to help these unsung heroes coming back home. It is our vision and dream that the 5K 4 Fighter race, will continue to raise funds for them year after year until a suitable transition home for women veterans is opened on Long Island. Right now, the funds we raise will be able to go towards the needs of the women veterans that are unmet. Some of these woman need licensing fees, additional legal costs, utility and car payments, assistance with relocation, support for single mothers and children’s care needs. The transition back into civilian life is hard enough. Without our support it could take years before these women can even provide a secure home for themselves, and their families. Raising awareness is the key to solidifying the support these women need to become self-sufficient.
The women veterans can no longer be invisible.