Mary F. Calvert on ‘Missing in Action: Homeless Women Veterans’ 

The 2014 Women’s Initiative Project Missing in Action: Homeless Women Veterans by Mary F. Calvert looks at those who served our country bravely, only to find themselves without a safe place to call home. Women 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. 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. 

Women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the U.S.

Women who have survived Military Sexual Trauma are the most hidden population of homeless women and often flounder in unsafe relationships, live in their cars or endure drug-infested motels to avoid shelters or the street. These women have been failed by an impotent Department of Veteran’s Affairs, which is ill equipped to meet the needs of women, particularly mothers.

The project has been recognized with a First Prize from World Press Photo for Long-Term Projects and the Cliff Edom New America Award.

In the video above, produced by 2015 Alexia Grantee Michael Santiago, Mary F. Calvert discusses her Alexia project. She speaks about the heartbreaking situation many of these women have found themselves in and discusses the particular challenges of her project.

She advises young photographers that to work on a project like this, a ton of research is necessary. Further, Calvert tells them, “the number one thing is, if you don’t care about this subject, it’s going to show.”

Missing in Action: Homeless Women Veterans will be on display at the Alexia at 25 exhibition this week from June 13-19 at the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph. Calvert will be giving an Artist Talk at the festival on June 17 at 11 a.m. and will be attending the Alexia at 25 reception on Friday, June 17 from 7-8.30 p.m.

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