FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) — A 4,000 square foot home in Fairfax is plenty of room for three homeless female veterans. They are part of an effort by Final Salute Inc. to help women in uniform find housing.
According to the nonprofit, there are an estimated 13,000 homeless female veterans, including about 700 in the greater Washington, DC, area.
“They’re making me feel, just overjoyed,” said Jessica Foreman.
The Iraqi War Veteran found herself homeless after she left the military and completed school. “My schooling was over after a year. Then you’re out on your own. And just because you go to school for something, does not necessarily guarantee that you’ll be employed in that field. Especially with the lack of jobs,” she said.
In the pantry, there’s plenty of food. It feels like a luxury to Army Vet Mona Sarin.
She said her path to homelessness started in the military when she was raped by a fellow soldier. Now, she can get help with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “I have a second chance to get on my feet in a very safe environment,” Sarin said.
Iraqi War vet Sandra Strickland said she was living the American Dream until faced with domestic violence. She said she fled her home with her kids. Now she has a place to stay and it reminds her of the camaraderie she felt in the military. “It’s a support system. I feel a sense of sisterhood,” said Strickland.
There are six bedrooms in the house and some still need to be filled. Homeless mothers with children are welcome.
Jas Boothe, founder of Final Salute, said Saturday’s ribbon cutting is just the beginning. “We do have other properties in DC that are being lined up and remodeled,” said Boothe.
She hopes that next year the nonprofit will be able to house 70 homeless female veterans. The Final Salute website outlines the ways to help, providing food, clothes, appliances, furniture and household goods and also may be contacted at email@example.com.