Georgia opens its first office for women veterans

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Georgia’s first women veterans office has officially opened in Atlanta, a nod by officials to one of the state’s fastest growing segments of veterans.

The state Department of Veterans Service has long sought to create the program, which seeks to address the unique needs of a population that numbers to just under 100,000, or about 15 percent of veterans in Georgia.

Gov. Nathan Deal this year backed the idea, including funding for it in this year’s state budget. The department then hired a full-time director for the office, Veda Brooks, who had been working with the agency as an appeals officer.

Women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the state’s homeless veterans population, officials have said, and are more likely to be caretakers of their parents. They’re also more likely to be younger — about 84 percent are considered to be of working age, 17 to 64 years old.

The new office is meant to cater to those needs. Brooks has a background in social work, and is expected to bolster efforts that include filing benefits claims and providing counselling for military sexual trauma.