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Betsy Ross Hall provides a home for women veterans

Pierce County’s first transitional residence for homeless female veterans

Betsy Ross Hall Veterans Navigator Kacy Cross explaining the importance of the various butterfly trees inside Betsy Ross Hall, a transitional housing program for homeless women veterans. Photo credit: Gary Lott

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We all agree that one homeless veteran, or working veteran who is unable to achieve housing security, is one too many.

With the scarcity of affordable independent housing or supportive transitional housing, it has become important to explore options for putting vacant rooms and buildings to use to serve veterans.

That is where Betsy Ross Hall has responded to this need.

Betsy Ross Hall is Pierce County's first transitional residence for homeless female veterans and recently celebrated its grand opening in June.

"When it comes to veterans without homes ... the numbers are going up exponentially," Washington Department of Veterans Affairs director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos said during a grand opening event for Betsy Ross Hall. "And that is the fact that we're victims of an economy where the price of rent and mortgages are going up. We have a crisis when it comes to housing."

This pilot program, led by nonprofit WestCare Foundation, seeks to provide housing for women veterans without homes.

WestCare Foundation is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both outpatient and residential environments.

"Our services include substance abuse and addiction treatment, homeless and runaway shelters, domestic violence treatment and prevention, and mental health programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents and families; we specialize in helping people traditionally considered difficult to treat, such as those who are indigent, have multiple disorders, or are involved with the criminal justice system," according to WestCare's website.

Betsy Ross Hall was built on the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting grounds with 12 total rooms.

Since opening up in September 2017, Betsy Ross has assisted 99 women veterans, with 15 women veterans admitted into the program thus far.

Women veterans at Betsy Ross have successfully reunited with their families, started new careers and/or moved on and been safely housed across Washington state and even North Carolina in their new homes.  

One of the women veterans at Betsy Ross Hall actually received employment as a WestCare employee and now assists other in-need women veterans.

To be eligible for the Betsy Ross Hall program, a woman must have served in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, be clean and sober for 30 days, be homeless in Pierce County for one or more nights, be willing to undergo a criminal background check, and have a desire to make meaningful life changes. After admittance, chemical dependency services, mental health services and a community services center are available to the Betsy Ross Hall residents.

Any provider operating a program to serve veterans on the Soldiers Home Campus is required to follow the same background check procedures that the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs uses for their own programs.

The Soldiers Home Campus and Betsy Ross will remain a drug and alcohol-free campus regardless of what entity operates the programs.

The Soldiers Home was established in 1891 to provide housing for homeless Civil War veterans. Since that time, the WDVA has continued to serve veterans on their campus through the Federal VA's Domiciliary Program that provides funding for programs that serve homeless or economically disadvantaged veterans.

If you have questions about the WestCare Betsy Ross Program, please contact Ray Switzer at

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