Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sonia Zimmerman


Homeless Persons; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Sexual Harassment; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Veterans; Veterans Health; Women's Health


Female veterans are the fastest growing subpopulation among the homeless population in the United States (U.S.) (Boothe, 2017). Female veterans report lack of access to gender-specific programs and therapy groups within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to meet specific needs post-deployment (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015b). Difficulty with reintegration post-deployment has been linked with homelessness among female veterans. There is evidence to support female veterans' over-representation in the homeless population is due to a higher prevalence of risk factors for homelessness as compared to male veterans and females within the general population (Byrne, Montgomery, & Dichter, 2013). There is a lack of literature related to the role occupational therapists working with female veterans; however, there is current literature to support occupational therapy’s role in addressing mental health and reintegration risk factors post-deployment (Cogan, 2014).

A literature review was conducted on topics related to gender differences among veterans, experiences of female veterans, mental illness, homelessness, and occupational therapy services. In the absence of randomized control studies in occupational therapy literature on homelessness among female veterans, this project draws from evidence of the occupational therapy role in mental health, veteran population, and homeless persons. Based on the results of the literature, Female Veterans and Homelessness: A Resource Guide for Occupational Therapists was created for occupational therapists working in community-based settings. The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement and Canadian Practice Process Framework were utilized to guide the development of the resource guide. Recommendations for the occupational therapy process include assessment, interventions, re-evaluation, and discharge planning.

The purpose of this scholarly project and the resulting resource guide is to increase occupational therapists’ awareness for the need of gender-specific care for female veterans receiving services in community-based settings. Occupational therapists are qualified to address and treat risk factors for homelessness among female veterans. The resource guide is a positive contribution to providing client-centered care for female veterans reintegrating into civilian life. Female Veterans and Homelessness: A Resource Guide for Occupational Therapists is a tool that occupational therapists can utilize to implement gender-specific care and address the risk factors for homelessness among female veterans.