Nightly News | November 24, 2011
>>> an emotional homecoming in ft. worth, texas, this holiday. some of america's bravest returning from iraq a month earlier than planned. as more and more veterans return from the wars in iraq and afghanistan, many of them are having a tough time finding work in this job market , particularly single moms, and that's leading to a troubling new statistic. more tonight from nbc's thanh truong.
>> reporter: like many moms, ruth donaldson 's day starts at the bus stop. waiting, she reads to her 6-year-old son, dante.
>> he rubbed his wings together. rub.
>> reporter: after seeing him off, the 29-year-old heads inside and searches for jobs in fayetteville, north carolina .
>> is that full-time or part-time?
>> reporter: joining her is 23-year-old deja handy. they're single mothers and homeless, now living in a shelter.
>> i fought for my country. i come back, nothing.
>> reporter: both women were honorably discharged from the army after they split from the children's father and failed to have adequate family care plans. divorced, pregnant and broke, donaldson had to sleep in her pontiac grand am .
>> you kind of lose confidence, your sense of identity. it's like you're not human anymore. people just look past you. they don't really care.
>> reporter: the number of women veterans has doubled in the last decade, a by-product of that, they're also the fastest growing segment of the homeless.
>> who thinks of a female veteran homeless? nobody.
>> reporter: the department of veterans affairs estimates on any given night in this country there are more than 4500 homeless female vets on the street, and that number is expected to grow as more return from deployments and are finding few job opportunities.
>> we make sure when we have a female veteran that we try our hardest to make sure we provide some type of housing.
>> reporter: the va offers housing, medical and job assistance but says more places are needed. the local charity gives homeless female vets and their kids a temporary place to stay.
>> they want jobs. they want their own houses. these women want their own keys and their own kitchens.
>> reporter: donaldson is searching for stability. six years of bouncing around is taking a toll.
>> that's the worst. being a mom and knowing you can't give your kids what every kid should have.
>> reporter: the va has set a goal of wiping out veteran homelessness by 2015 . but for these women warriors, they're just trying to make it through the week. thanh truong, nbc news, fayetteville, north carolina .