04/17/2012 11:20 am ET

Homelessness Among Female Veterans

The Veterans Affairs Department is in the middle of an ambitious five-year plan to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. It should make sure that this effort protects the vulnerable population of women, whose risks and needs can be far different from those of men.

The number of female veterans has soared since 1990, from 4 percent of all veterans to 8 percent today, or about 1.8 million. How many are homeless is unknown, though a report by the Government Accountability Office in December found that the number who had contact with the V.A. rose to 3,328 in 2010 from 1,380 in 2006.

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The reality of being a woman — by the numbers.