Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, in conjunction with Rep. Ted Lieu, called Thursday for legislation that would facilitate housing for homeless veterans on the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus.
The trio of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees, outlining legislation that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to work with local governments and nonprofits to ” provide additional housing and services for homeless and disadvantaged veterans at the West Los Angeles campus.”
The legislators noted that the department recently settled a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union over use of the West Los Angeles property, and a new master plan is being created for the land.
Their proposed legislation would authorize the department to enter into leases for supporting housing, while prohibiting the sale of any of the property for private development. The proposal also allows for the department to partner with agencies such as UCLA for services benefiting veterans and “help make the campus a veteran-centric community setting.”
“There is a critical need for long-term supportive housing on the West Los Angeles campus, and enhanced use leases would allow the department to work with community and state organizations toward the goal of ending veteran homelessness in Los Angeles,” according to the letter. “As you may be aware, Los Angeles is home to the largest population of homeless veterans in the country, which is simply unacceptable.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has vowed to end veteran homelessness in the city by the end of the year. There are an estimated 4,360 homeless veterans in Los Angeles County, according to a count released earlier this year. Garcetti said in January that the city has about 3,100 homeless veterans.
—City News Service