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Supportive Services for Homeless Veteran Women: Policy Implementation and Discretionary Practices of Those at the Front-Lines of Public Service Open Access

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This study explores whether and how government services originally designed to meet the needs for homeless veteran men are being modified to address the unique needs and circumstances facing the current population of homeless veteran women. Over the last 12 years, studies have documented the disparities in the risk of homelessness for veteran women when compared to veteran men and non-veteran women, as well as the unique web of factors that place veteran women at risk of homelessness, and the unique needs and challenges they face when homeless.To examine services for homeless women veterans in greater depth, I focus my research specifically on the front-line workers who directly serve veterans and their families within the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which serves the highest proportion of women veterans of all VA programs. SSVF front-line workers exercise great discretion in the implementation of SSVF policy at the street-level, and the research approach draws upon prior research on the role of front-line workers in policy implementation to examine current program changes, challenges, and feedback from the field. The study utilizes triangulated qualitative methods combining survey research, structured interview questions, and narratives to maximize the methodological integrity of the study.

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