As I mentioned earlier, I had almost 30 years of experience without being a VAC client, not even knowing that “VAC” was even a thing, that it existed. Once becoming a VAC client, I was housing insecure in all its forms. Again, various non-profits, or VAC, said that they didn't have a housing mandate, so I should look on Kijiji. City of Ottawa social housing said there was a list about 5,000 people long, but there was housing out there. She looked at her laptop and said that tons of stuff was coming up. Again, it was not addressing things like the barriers that a woman veteran with a trauma history would find in that housing.
As well, there's the veterans' house initiative. While I applaud what they're attempting to do, when I spoke with the person in charge there, when they were still fundraising, I asked if any trauma awareness was being built in or how that worked. I was a case of, I see that you have 40 units, and yes, you're telling me that it's open to both men and women—but there's no way that I, as a woman veteran, would even want to enter into that building. It's communal living. If you look at the pictures online, you can see what this housing system looks like. It really replicates almost exactly the environment in which many servicewomen were sexually assaulted. Just safety-wise, think about the basement laundry and all the places where danger exists and danger lurks.
I don't think they've gotten it quite right. It's crossing fingers and hoping that, now that we're all adults and we've all learned, this must somehow mean that the housing is safe for women. We do know that women veterans are choosing to live in their cars rather than applying to stay at a place like the veterans' house initiative. I think that's unfortunate. It definitely needs to be worked on. I would recommend women-specific housing for veterans.