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Local center helps female veterans

According to a report from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, more than 40,000 veterans experience homelessness in America.

Women make up 78 percent of those veterans. Lady Veterans Connect is an organization opening a house in Winchester to assist those very women.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, Anna’s House for Women Veterans – a part of the Lady Veterans Connect program – will be hosting a ribbon-cutting at its location at 11400 Irvine Road.

The organization helps homeless veteran women with housing, life skills, interviewing, career readiness, financial literacy, trauma counseling, veterans health care, and Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs assistance.

“We want to help female veterans leave Anna’s House the women they were when they exited the military,” said Phyllis Abbott, executive director of the program. “We want to create the recognition that women veterans do exist, because when women come out of the military, they often no longer identify as veterans. We’re trying to give them the confidence to say ‘I am a veteran. I served our country, and I deserve recognition as our male veteran counterparts do.’”

Abbott noted that June 12 is officially Women’s Veterans Day in 14 states. She hopes in the near future that Kentucky will officially recognize this day, as well. The ribbon-cutting at Anna’s House for Women Veterans is not just a celebration of the center’s opening, but also a recognition of the veterans in attendance for their dedication.

Anna’s House for Women Veterans provides assistance to get women back on their feet through five outlined phases. The orientation serves as an introduction to the program, the home, and the staff. Identification such as name and birth certificate are retrieved and women are registered to the Veterans Administration hospital for physical and mental healthcare.

Phase one assists women with establishing goals to work toward. As treatment at the VA hospital continues, women will begin a health and nutritional analysis along with an exercise routine. Additionally, they are enrolled in a six-week financial literacy program and begin employment training. Each lady vet will have a resume by the end of this phase.

Phase two sees the employment of those taking advantage of the program, with the women finding a job with at least 20 hours per week. Volunteers help the veterans establish a budget and manage a bank account. During this phase, women will take part in six hours of community service a month, and become a mentor called a “big sister” to women who are currently in phase one.

Phase three sees the continued commitment to the goals set in the previous phases and assists women with completing a housing and transportation transition plan. The final phase is a transition to a new home, with Lady Veterans Connect volunteers weekly follow-ups for 120 days.

The public can attend the ribbon-cutting but are asked to RSVP via email to info@ladyveteransconnect.org. Additional information can be acquired by contacting the aforementioned email, and by visiting their website at lv-connect.org. Those looking to donate, or inquire about volunteer opportunities, can do so on the website.