(WJLA) - Today, Jaspen Boothe – also known as Jas – is going through clothes that will go to female veterans trying to get back in the work force.
Boothe’s story begins in 2005, when she was about to be deployed to Iraq. In a devastating one-two punch, she lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, and then was diagnosed with cancer.
She was medically discharged from the Army, and suddenly left homeless.
“It didn't seem fair," she said. "We've given just as much as our brothers and when we come back home and need that support, Americans should be just as willing to give us that support.”
Boothe was shocked that while she felt male veterans has many services available to them, there were no programs for female vets with children.
“This is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States -- it is a national epidemic," she said.
Boothe eventually joined the Army National Guard, and is now married with two sons. After her experience, she is determined to help homeless female veterans with her non-profit called “Final Salute,” which now has three transitional homes – including this one in Alexandria. It’s the only non-profit like it in the D.C. area.
“I want them to get back to being proud and feeling honored and feeling like it's their country that supports and cares about them," Boothe explains.
“Final Salute” has helped nearly 200 women and families, but Boothe says that in some ways, she is merely putting a Band-Aid on a nationwide issue:
“As a service member or veteran, when life hits you, America should be able to help pick you up. You are in a combat zone. It does not matter what your job is or what your gender is. -- an IED does not discriminate."
The non-profit is hosting “Stand Up for Women Vets” on May 10 to offer clothing, makeovers, and pampering for female veterans.