Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona in partnership with The Milanovich Trust, U.S.VETS – Phoenix and Arizona Sustainability Alliance, are celebrating the completion of two homes for women Veterans in need of affordable housing, named in honor of 1st Lt. Ashley White, the first Cultural Support Team member of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command killed in action. She gathered intelligence from local Afghan women who, for cultural reasons, couldn’t talk to men outside their own families.
“We’ve been serving Veterans in our community for years through affordable home repairs, and what we’ve learned is that women, who are the fastest growing segment of the Veteran population, are drastically underserved,” Habitat President and CEO Jason Barlow said.
Ashley’s Place will provide transitional housing focused on addressing the unique needs of women who were exposed to trauma during their military service.
“Women Veterans can face many challenges when returning to civilian life, including raising children on their own, dealing with trauma, or employment and housing barriers that tend to put them at greater risk of becoming homeless,” said Jennifer Gewarges, executive director of U.S.VETS – Phoenix. “Ashley’s Place will be a haven just for them and provide the resources and community where they can thrive.”
The two five-bedroom homes will provide a safe environment for up to 30 women annually with low incomes or who are coming out of homelessness, as well as daily meals. During a stay, women will receive individually designed wraparound services including individual and group counseling, case management, healthcare, transportation, career and life skills training and other vital supports, helping them transition to a permanent home of their own.
In collaboration with volunteers and partners, Arizona Sustainability Alliance is greening the two homes by planting trees and plants and installing vertical and raised gardens. Other outdoor features include ground cover, pavers, and fencing. This project creates a welcoming outdoor space for the veterans and their families.
Kayla Killoren, Programs Manager for Arizona Sustainability Alliance said, “We’re honored to partner with Habitat for Humanity and U.S. Vets on Ashley’s Place, an incredible project that will provide housing for female veterans in Phoenix.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that up to 5% of all women Veterans and nearly 15% of women Veterans living in poverty experience homelessness over the course of a year. Furthermore, Veteran women are more than twice as likely as non-Veteran women living in poverty to experience homelessness.