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Tucker Hosts Women Veterans' Workshop
Provided Help and Hope for Unemployed, Homeless and Victims of Sexual Assault
Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Chair Cleopatra G. Tucker held a workshop to help women veterans and their families at the Shani Baraka Women's Resource Center in Newark on Wednesday.
"Many of our women veterans have served our country, but come home to less than desirable circumstances like unemployment and a lack of housing," said Tucker (D-Essex). "Some don't know how to access their benefits. Others suffer from various types of trauma that has never been treated. We're here today to get them help in an environment that is safe, informative and encouraging."
According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) VetPop statistics, approximately 2 million of the nation's 21.2 million veterans are women. The VA also reports that female veterans comprise the fastest growing number of homeless veterans, including those with children. It estimates that the United States has 20,000 to 40,000 female homeless veterans. Most of these women, however, tend to stay with family and friends rather than in a shelter or on the street.
One woman veteran who has experienced such challenges first-hand is Cheryl "Kit" Turner, 61, of Irvington, NJ. The Montclair, NJ native served in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force Reserve and U.S. Army National Guard. She received three separate honorable discharges, endured rape while serving in the military and has been homeless in the past.
"I am a perfect example of what can go wrong and go right in a lifetime," she said. "I've been homeless twice, but I know that if you put your trust in the Lord, you can accomplish anything."
For Turner, that "anything" has included founding New Hope Village 4 Veterans -- a program that provides apartments and social services for homeless veterans and their families. She was on hand at the workshop to share her story and encourage fellow women veterans to overcome their challenges.
The workshop was open to all active, reserve and National Guard service members
and veterans and their families
"Now, more than ever, our women warriors from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Merchant Marines, Women's Army Corps, and Women's Army Auxiliary Corps need the resources to help them move them forward with their lives," said Tucker.
Highlights of the workshop included:
· Employment services
· Educational and training opportunities
· Assistance upgrading separation records to reflect an honorable discharge
· Resources for survivors of military sexual trauma
· Information on accessing documents such as DD 214, DD 215, NGB 22 and NGB 22A
· Family and mental health therapy
· Substance abuse counseling
· Various social service support servics.
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