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"Veteran Women Housing to End Homelessness Among Women Veterans and Their Children"

Veteran Women Housing is the answer to homelessness in various segments of our population, but one of the most heart-wrenching and often overlooked groups is that of women veterans and their children. These brave individuals, who have served our country, face unique challenges upon their return to civilian life, with homelessness being a stark reality for too many.

Bessie Bell featured on a blog post about her advocacy for veteran women, with a December theme and a focus on community impact.
Bessie Bell featured on a blog post about her advocacy for veteran women, with a December theme and a focus on community impact.

On a mission to tackle this critical issue, the "Missing In America" organization recently hosted a significant summit titled "Eradicating Homelessness for American Veteran Women and their Children.

" This event, was held in Atlanta, Georgia, brought together a diverse group of over 500 in attendance, including veterans, government officials, non-profit leaders, and concerned citizens. Their goal was straightforward : to completely eradicate homelessness among female veterans with children by November 2024.

The keynote speaker at the summit was Dr. William Paul, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and former Director of Georgia’s Office of Budget and Fulton County’s Office of Economic Development. Dr. Paul has been a beacon of hope in this fight, having founded PC Realty, the first licensed 501(c)(3) non-profit real estate firm in the country. His firm, with its faith-based roots, is a testament to the power of bringing compassion and action together. Dr. Paul's address highlighted the dire situation faced by many women veterans and their children, who often fall through the cracks of an overburdened social support system.

 "Event presenter at the Lifting Christ Center holding a frame showcasing interior images of furnished rooms, indicating housing solutions, with 'LIVE. LOCAL. LATE BREAKING.' by WVTM 13 News."
Bessie Bell holding a picture frame of apartment interiors, symbolizing her work in housing solutions for veterans.

Dr. Paul's message was clear and impactful: "These women have put their lives at risk in service to our nation. They have made unimaginable sacrifices to defend the freedoms we cherish. Yet, they return home only to face the indignity of homelessness. This is unacceptable, and we must act now to provide them with the housing stability they deserve."

Under Dr. Paul's leadership, PC Realty has not only provided housing solutions but has also played a pivotal role in establishing over 23,000 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations focused on community empowerment. These organizations are instrumental in developing affordable housing, job training programs, and supportive services. This network is vital to the Missing In America’s mission, as it leverages partnerships to build housing units specifically for female veterans and their families across the country.

Exterior view of a multi-family home, symbolizing community housing solutions for veterans.

This movement also sheds light on the issue that research has shown that female veterans experience higher rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) compared to non-veteran women. This increased risk is associated with several adverse outcomes, including a greater likelihood of PTSD, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation and behavior, and increased healthcare utilization. Dr. Melissa Dichter's work at the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion has been particularly insightful in this area, demonstrating these heightened risks among women veterans.

"Speaker at the Lifting Christ Center event, with festive balloons in the background, giving an inspirational speech during a live broadcast by WVTM 13 News."
Bessie Bell speaking at a podium with blue and red balloons in the background, reflecting her community engagement

One notable statistic from the research indicates that between 30% and 70% of female veterans have experienced IPV in their lifetime. Additionally, among active duty females, approximately 36% report having experienced IPV during their service. These statistics highlight the significant prevalence of IPV among women veterans and underline the urgent need for targeted support and interventions in this group.The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has recognized this issue and implemented the IPV Assistance Program to address the needs of women veterans experiencing IPV. This program includes expanded efforts for screening, support, and connecting veterans with necessary services, reflecting a comprehensive approach to tackling this critical issue.

Well-lit bedroom with a single bed and wooden furniture, showcasing simple living accommodations

These findings underscore the importance of recognizing and addressing the unique challenges faced by female veterans, particularly regarding IPV, and ensuring they receive the support and care they need.

Cover image for a December 2023 blog post featuring Bessie Bell, with highlights including a Christmas playlist and the 'Missing In America' initiative for eradicating homelessness among American veteran women and children."
Bessie Bell featured on a blog post about her advocacy for veteran women, with a December theme and a focus on community impact.

A memorable moment during the event was the special recognition of Dr. Richard Arrington, the former mayor of Birmingham, a civil rights icon who played a crucial role in addressing homelessness in his city during the 1980s. Under his leadership, Birmingham developed over 2,500 units of affordable and transitional housing. Further bolstering this legacy, Birmingham’s current Mayor Randall Woodfin declared December 2nd as “Homeless Women Veterans Awareness Day,” a move that underscores the city's ongoing commitment to supporting veterans.

The event concluded on a note of aspiration and determination. The leaders emphasized the importance of public-private collaboration to address this complex crisis. However, beyond the statistics and plans lies the human impact – children growing up in uncertainty, women who served their country only to face life's basic struggles upon their return. This situation is not befitting the heroes they are, and it demands our urgent and unwavering attention.

Spacious kitchen with modern appliances and white cabinetry, representing comfortable amenities for veterans

Dr. William Paul and the Missing In America organization have set a ambitious goal, driven by the belief that even one homeless veteran is one too many. Their efforts underscore the need for a collective response from government, business, faith groups, and non-profits to provide these families the stability and dignity they deserve.

As this initiative moves forward, the question that remains is whether will we join to answer the call. Our veterans have dedicated their lives to our nation's welfare. It is our duty to ensure that upon their return, they always have a place to call home.

Dining area with a wooden table and chairs, featuring a brick accent wall, illustrating potential dining space.



Bessie Bell is a dedicated and accomplished individual who has made significant contributions in various fields, particularly in the military, community service, and entrepreneurship. With a strong sense of patriotism and a desire to serve her country, Bessie joined the U.S. Army, where she proudly served for eight years. Her dedication and commitment to her duty earned her the respect of her fellow soldiers and superiors. After her military service, Bessie founded and became the Executive Director of the Just Be Reel Foundation. This nonprofit organization aims to promote the performing arts as a means to raise awareness of social issues, with a particular focus on eradicating homelessness among women veterans and their children. In addition to her philanthropic work, Bessie has also excelled in the business world. In 2023, she became the owner of PC Realty, a successful real estate company. Her leadership and entrepreneurial skills have propelled the company to new heights, providing exceptional service to clients. Bessie's dedication to community service has not gone unnoticed. In 2023, she received the PDI Veterans Repair award, recognizing her outstanding contributions to the community. In 2022, she was honored with the Joe Biden Lifetime Achievement Award for her exceptional leadership and community service. Bessie's faith is an integral part of her life, and in 2019, she was installed as a pastor at Thompson Chapel AME Zion Church. Her ordination as an elder in the AME Zion church in 2023 further solidifies her commitment to her spiritual journey and serving her congregation. Throughout her career, Bessie has been recognized for her outstanding achievements. In 2008, she was named the NAACP Birmingham Chapter Woman of the Year, and in 2007, she received the NAACP Birmingham Chapter Community Service Award. Her dedication to promoting music and cultural events was acknowledged in 2006 when she organized the "I Hear Music in the Air-Bham & Message in the Music" event. In 2005, Bessie showcased her entrepreneurial spirit by establishing C&B Bell Enterprises, LLC, a successful business venture that has contributed to the local economy. Bessie Bell is a remarkable individual who has dedicated her life to serving others, advocating for social causes, and excelling in various fields. Her leadership, compassion, and entrepreneurial spirit continue to inspire others to make a positive impact in their communities.

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