Jennifer Litwak Litwak: “HOM is currently working on creating affordable housing utilizing shipping containers that will be modified to provide 750 square feet self-contained dwelling units. This project is being supported entirely by private-sector dollars.”

SAN DIEGO—Housing on Merit creates a bridge to permanent affordable housing for female veterans that are experiencing homelessness, executive director Jennifer Litwak tells Citing statistics from 2013, she says California has the largest veteran population in the nation—with approximately 1.86 million veterans, California has nearly 9% of the nation’s veterans and, according to the California Research Bureau, approximately 10% of California’s veterans are female. Female veterans are between two and four times as likely to be homeless as their nonveteran counterparts, Congressional Research Services reports, and 10% (compared to 15% of nonveterans) live below the poverty line. Also, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that female veteran headed households were more likely to be cost burdened. For example, 82% of female veteran headed households with extremely low incomes were cost burdened compared to 59% of married veteran households. spoke exclusively with Litwak about Housing on Merit, what it provides and how the industry can help.

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.

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