The bill—authored by retired U.S. Air Force major general, State Sen. Richard Roth—is a major step forward in addressing housing needs for female veterans who have been victims of sexual abuse, trauma, intimidation or harassment while serving in the military and who are currently seeking treatment, Nguyen’s office stated.
“Senate Bill 866 will go a long way in addressing the current shortcomings of our system by creating an environment where female Veterans who are victims of sexual abuse, trauma, intimidation or harassment can receive housing and support services in a setting that may be most comfortable to them,” stated Nguyen. “As an advocate for our nation’s Veterans, I was more than proud to support this vital piece of legislation, and I commend Senator Richard Roth for his work as the bill’s author.”
Under the bill, housing developers or service providers—providing housing services under the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program (VHHP)—can provide housing and services to veterans and their children in women-only facilities in limited instances while ensuring that the housing they provide focuses on, among other things, treating the effects of military sexual abuse, trauma or intimidation, according to a release from Nguyen’s office.
Between 2006 and 2010 women veterans identifying as homeless more than doubled, according to a recent report by the federal Government Accountability Office. To compound the problem, studies have shown that female veterans are often deterred from seeking veteran-only housing because of PTSD due to military sexual trauma, according to the release.
Nguyen is a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Governor’s Military Council. The bill was signed by Brown on September 23.
The passage of the bill comes as presidential candidate Donald Trump has been accused of multiple sexual assault incidents in the last week, highlighting the prevalence of sexual assault and a re framing of the conversation on the national stage.