Awards of Merit

The Need

  • California has the largest veteran population in the nation.  With approximately 1.86 million veterans, California has nearly 9% of the nation’s veterans.
  • According to the California Research Bureau[1] approximately 10% of California’s veterans are women.
  • Women veterans are between two and four times as likely to be homeless as their nonveteran counterparts[2] and 10% (compared to 15% of nonveterans) live below the poverty line.[3]
  • Women veteran headed households were more likely to be cost burdened.  For example, 82% of women veteran headed households with extremely low incomes were cost burdened compared to 59% of married veteran households.

The Program

Housing on Merit recognized the urgent need to reduce the number of women veterans experiencing homelessness in California.  HOM collected information related to barriers, opportunities, and trends in homelessness among female veterans in order to understand their needs, access to resources, and gaps in funding sources.  After completing this extensive research, HOM launched the Awards of Merit for Housing Assistance.  The program provides funds to women veterans facing homelessness in order to remove barriers to permanent housing.

In 2016, HOM partnered with Courage to Call to identify women veterans most in need for housing assistance. With their help we are able to award subsequent funds to reduce the number of women veterans facing homelessness in San Diego. Housing on Merit has also partnered with Team AMVETS to help veterans in our program get settled into their new homes.

Welcoming Our Heroes Home is Housing on Merit’s fundraising initiative to support our Awards of Merit Program. Watch Paula’s story and consider donating to make housing a reality for all women veterans facing homelessness in San Diego.

Our 2015 Awardees

Housing on Merit was proud to continue its partnership with the Veterans Village of San Diego to select the 2015 recipients of the Award of Merit for Housing Assistance. This year we funded five incredible women through the program.

2015 Awardees
Recipients (from left to right) April Adair, Paula Anderson, Pamela Rush, and Kimberly Coats. Not pictured, Angela Slay.

Our 2014 Awardees

Housing on Merit was proud to partner with the Veterans Village of San Diego and several veterans residing at their Veterans Winter Shelter were awarded the Award of Merit for Housing Assistance in March of 2014.  HOM is proud to report that these veterans are currently stably housed in permanent housing.

Meet Patricia

Patricia is a U.S. Navy Veteran with over 4 years of service.  During her service, Patricia was awarded the Good Conduct Medal for completing three consecutive years of “honorable and faithful service and the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon.  Patricia became homeless due to a financial crisis.  The Award of Merit for Housing Assistance helped Patricia create an emergency funding source for unexpected expenses and helped her move from homelessness to permanent housing!

Next Steps

HOM will continue to work with the Veterans Village of San Diego in awarding subsequent Awards of Merit for Housing Assistance, which are possible due to the individual contributions of people who care.  Your donations help us ensure that formerly homeless female veterans maintain housing stability and fully integrate into their communities.  Contributions are tax deductible as Housing on Merit is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.  Housing on Merit’s Tax ID# 45-2991692

Donate now to HOM’s Awards of Merit “because when a veteran comes home kissing the ground, it is unacceptable that he or she should ever have to sleep on it.” – First Lady Michelle Obama


[1] Overview of Veterans in California, California Research Bureau, March 2013

[2] Veterans and Homelessness, Congressional Research Services, Libby Perl, November 29, 2013.

[3] Housing Instability among Our Nation’s Veteran’s, National Low Income Housing Coalition, November 2013.