The Alexia Foundation is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2014 Women’s Initiative Grant is Mary F. Calvert, an independent photojournalist based in the United States. Calvert will utilize the $25,000 grant for her project “Missing in Action: Homeless Female Veterans.”
“Female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States and are four times more likely to become homeless than civilian women,” Calvert tells us in her proposal. Yet, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is ill equipped to address the issues faced by female veterans, many of whom are mothers and single parents.
The stark emotion evoked in her images promises to deliver the raw naked truth about a neglected segment in the military
Women who served their country courageously in Iraq and Afghanistan, arrive home with health care issues like post traumatic stress disorder from serving and custody battles from the strain of deployment on their families.
For many women, the military was a way to escape a difficult situation, yet lack of advancement and high levels of harassment and sexual assault have driven them out. When they leave, they have trouble coping with the stress of unemployment in a weak economy. Further exacerbating the situation, a good deal of homeless shelters cannot accommodate children, and those that can often won’t allow a male child over the age of 12.
“Mary Calvert’s project on homeless female veterans in Los Angeles qualifies as the poster story for our mission statement,” says Alexia Foundation co-founder Aphrodite Tsairis. “The stark emotion evoked in her images promises to deliver the raw naked truth about a neglected segment in the military – the debilitating aftermath for abused women in the armed forces.”
Calvert’s work will focus on the Los Angeles region, where the largest concentration of homeless veterans live. She will examine the painfully slow response to this crisis by the beleaguered U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs as well as the organizations that attempt to help these women. Calvert will put a human face on this neglected crisis by making compelling photographs of the women affected and allowing them to tell their stories in their own voices.
“It is so gratifying to be recognized by such a prestigious organization that really cares about this type of work,” said Calvert about receiving the grant. “I’m so honored to be part of the Alexia family.”
Likewise, we are honored to be able to help support Calvert’s important project and look forward to seeing its development.