BALTIMORE — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today addressed the 2011 Women Veteran Conference at Morgan State University. The conference, which is titled “Women Veterans: Empowered with the Tools for Success,” is geared toward ensuring that women veterans over the age of 50 have equal access to benefits and opportunities.
“Maryland has 49,000 women veterans with nearly 22,000 over age 50. Traditionally, the focus has been on male veterans, but women veterans have made an enormous sacrifice for our nation and it’s time that we ensure that their needs are addressed and that they receive the services they deserve,” said Senator Cardin. “Many women veterans have had difficulty transitioning to civilian life and it’s time that we make that transition easier with more supportive services, including access to health care and educational opportunities.”
Women in the military – both active duty and veteran populations — face unusual challenges because of their military experiences and, for many, multiple roles as breadwinner, parent, and spouse. Often their return to civilian life is difficult. An estimated 75,609 veterans are homeless, sheltered or unsheltered, on any given night. Women were 10,214 (7.5%) of the 136,334 homeless veterans who were sheltered sometime between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009 (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). Female veterans have a greater risk of homelessness compared to their civilian counterparts.
The Conference is being sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, the Baltimore Veterans Commission, A Step Forward, among others.