$20M to fund West LA VA housing for homeless veterans

West Los Angeles Veterans Administration officials announced $20 million in federal funds will go toward converting a campus building into a therapeutic-housing facility for chronically homeless veterans.

"Veterans have provided a great service to our nation, and it is our responsibility to support them in return,'' said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "The therapeutic housing project at the West Los Angeles VA facility offers the promise of refuge and resources for chronically homeless veterans in the region, yet it is has been a long, drawn-out process to see it brought to fruition.''

According to Feinstein, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki agreed June 16 to provide the funding. He made the announcement during a meeting with Feinstein, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles.

"We so appreciate Secretary Shinseki's commitment to house our homeless veterans who have already sacrificed so much for our nation,'' Yaroslavsky said. "This project marks a milestone in addressing this issue.''

The funding will be used to transform Building 209 on the West Los Angeles campus into a facility for homeless veterans, providing medical care, mental-health treatment and special-needs services. It is expected to be completed by 2012.

Shinseki also agreed to work with Feinstein and Waxman to identify funds to renovate two other buildings on the campus for veteran housing, according to Feinstein's office, which reported that Los Angeles County has about 6,540 homeless veterans, one of the largest populations in the nation.