New shelter at YWCA to house homeless female veterans - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New shelter at YWCA to house homeless female veterans

Donna Klinch Donna Klinch
Darryl Vincent Darryl Vincent
Lissa Guild Lissa Guild
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

After 24 years in the service, Donna Klinch quit the Air Force and became homeless.

"You've got to worry about being attacked, being raped. Some I have heard of have been raped out there on the street," she said.

There are 1.8 million homeless female veterans in America. Five percent of homeless vets in Hawaii are women. Darryl Vincent of U.S. Vets expects the number to increase.

"We are confident that we'll see a rising number of how many women there are, unfortunately, once we start going out and targeting them," he said.

Next month, U.S. Vets and the YWCA will open Hawaii's first transitional housing for female veterans, offering job training, plus therapy for those who were sexually abused in the military.

"They need to talk about it. If they don't work through it, work through the issues, the real tangible things that happened to them while they were in the service, they're never going to get beyond the damage that was done and get back into the community. And we need them to get back into our community again," YWCA Oahu Board Chairman Lissa Guild said.

Klinch said she was sexually harassed during her enlistment. While she fought back, others she knew didn't.

"A lot of them will back off, pull themselves into a shell, and really get themselves in a mess," she said.

The new shelter at the YWCA's Fernhurst location will house 20 female vets at a time.

"We have women who are our nation's heroes that are coming back and having the same issues as men," Vincent said. "It's our job to go out and identify them."

Klinch served in the Navy, Army and Air Force. She worked as a mechanic. She's lived in the Kalaeloa shelter since May. Now that she's off the street, she has a goal.

"Keep working until they actually give me the boot and tell me that you're supposed to be retired," she said.

She'll move into the Fernhurst center when it opens.


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