This week, Los Angeles leaders formally committed themselves to ending veteran homelessness in L.A. by October of this year.
The announcement was ushered in by a legal settlement within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday, in which the VA announced that the 387-acre West L.A. campus would be transformed into a center of permanent housing for the region’s over 4,200 homeless veterans.
“We must always keep our sacred promise to ensure that all veterans get the care and benefits they have earned,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In addition to appointing a national homelessness expert to develop a master plan for how best to use the VA’s facilities for veterans, the VA and its legal opponents must create a written plan by Feb. 13 that will tangibly end homelessness among veterans in the Greater Los Angeles area, the Times notes. The focus will reportedly be on veterans who are chronically homeless, female, aging, and severely disabled, writes the Times.
Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver helped organize the lawsuit, which was deemed victorious this week. The victory was largely seen as being championed by the VA’s new secretary, Robert A. McDonald, who helped pushed the case towards settlement this week. “It’s very simple. If we don’t fix it in Los Angeles, it’s not going to be fixed,” McDonald said.
An “exit strategy” has also been provided for tenants, such as UCLA’s baseball stadium, the Brentwood School’s athletic complex, a hotel laundry, and an entertainment studio’s storage space, which are currently leasing the facilities for use not directly related to veterans’ care, the Times notes.
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