Program helps homeless female veterans

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Women who have never served acknowledge those who have.  Homeless female veterans get much needed information to help stabilize their lives.

Veterans make up almost 11 percent of America’s adult homeless population. Approximately 4,300 of them are female.

Lenzi Allen was discharged from the United States Army four years ago.

“When I first got out of the military, I had to sleep in my vehicle for two months, I wasn’t able to lay down,” she said.

Her status restricts access to various benefits.

“I have an ‘Other Than Honorable’ discharge and I’m trying to get my upgrade right now,”

The Veterans Administration offers options, but navigating the system is challenging.

The Links, Incorporated is an international women’s organization committed to friendship and service. The organization invited speakers from the VA and female veterans from the St. Patrick Center’s ‘Project HERO’ to have a dialogue.

Glenda Masingale Manson, central director of The Links, said the organization helps strengthen connections.

“It exposes or it expands the network that women veterans will have that would be able to help them,” she said.

Why are so many veterans homeless? Experts said it’s everything from benefit restrictions, lack of access to health care, post traumatic stress disorder, and no family and social support. That's why The Links included conversations with attorneys, mental health, medical, and financial professionals; all of whom are members of The Links.