Women and Homelessness by Anna Higgins
For the Pensacola News Journal
For Sunday, September 1, 2019
Submitted by: Anna Higgins on behalf of the Institute for Women in Politics of Northwest Florida
IWP member helping female veterans escape homelessness | Guestview
As summer comes to a close, the Institute for Women in Politics of Northwest Florida (IWP) is gearing up for a promising new year full of education, empowerment, and inspiration for the women in our community. While IWP seeks to educate women on the political process and to help more women enter the political arena, we also strive to highlight the need for more women in community leadership roles. IWP is thrilled to see our community growing and prospering, and with it, an increase in the number of women – many of whom are members – who are making a real difference.
One unique and important element of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties is our large population of veterans. World Population notes that Pensacola alone is home to over 5,000 veterans. We are proud that our military men and women so often make this area home. However, just like any other town, we are not without challenges.
Homelessness in our community, both veteran and civilian, is a serious issue facing our policymakers and citizens. According to National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are approximately 632 people homeless on a given night in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and 13 homeless per 10,000 people in the general population.
The city of Pensacola hosted a Town Hall that included input from leaders in our community who work with the homeless and provide resources. We are hopeful the meeting will result in improved collaboration among organizations and real, actionable steps from our local government in providing effective policy. We’re proud to acknowledge several IWP members’ work in this area: Connie Bookman with Pathways for Change, Anna Higgins at the Alfred-Washburn Center and many others. Nancy Prevot, one of IWP’s newest board members and a tireless leader in serving homeless women veterans in our community, served as a Town Hall participant.
Nancy retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of service and is the founder of the H.E.R. Foundation – www.honorher.org – in Pensacola. Nancy discovered that, although women veterans make up approximately 20 percent of new recruits, 15 percent of active duty military, and 10 percent of the guard and reserve forces, they are often forgotten after their time of service. Nancy is determined to stand in the gap for these forgotten women by helping them succeed in life after the military.
Nancy’s foundation is in the final stages of building a home for homeless female veterans. The home will serve as a safe place for the women to reside while they search for jobs and begin to get their lives back on track.
Nancy also serves as a voice for reform in policy and organizational procedure addressing the issue of homelessness. She recently received the Trailblazer Award from the Veteran’s Administration and will be receiving the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Brain Trust Award this month for her work. We are humbled and grateful to have Nancy in our community and serving as a board member of IWP.
At IWP, we not only applaud Nancy and women like her who lead, we look to them as examples to teach and inspire other women to step out and address needs in our community. We all have much to learn from these courageous women in our midst. IWP works to educate our membership in practical ways so that they feel equipped to lead in the face of challenges – knowing they have the support of a strong group of women behind them throughout the process.
Because IWP is committed to the goal of inspiring and supporting these women, we host regular seminars and educational events for our membership. At our monthly meeting on Sept. 6, IWP will be hosting a Lunch and Learn seminar featuring Stacey Kostevicki, executive director of Gulf Coast Kids' House, on Best Practices for working with a Board. The meeting is at 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Florida Public Archaeology Network/UWF building, 207 East Main Street. We invite you to explore our new and improved website, iwpflorida.org, for more information on IWP and upcoming events.
IWP would like to recognize and thank our newest members: Dr. Martha Saunders, Frency Moore, and Aimee Dumas. Not a member of IWP yet? It’s easy to join our mission! Select the membership tab on the website for more information. Together we will make a difference in our community and political institutions – working toward a future where women are engaged, represented, respected, and take leadership roles in the political process.
Anna Walker Higgins is a local attorney and the founder and president of Walker Strategies, a Pensacola-based government consulting firm. Anna grew up in Pensacola and resides locally with her husband, Michael and son, Patrick. Anna is a recent addition to the IWP Board of Directors.
This guestview is offered on behalf of the IWP Board of Directors. To inquire about membership in the Institute, email email@example.com.
Special thanks to Pensacola News Journal for publishing this article.