From tents to tiny shelters, VA begins aggressive push in LA to end veteran homelessness

LOS ANGELES — On a mild winter night in late February, two large, black Suburbans pulled into the parking lot of the Downtown Women’s Center in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles, home to one of the country’s largest homeless populations.

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough got out of one SUV and was quickly surrounded by about a dozen people waiting to meet him. The group included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., and representatives from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and the office of Hilda Solis, a member of the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors.

For the following two hours, the group crisscrossed Skid Row, tallying the number of homeless individuals for the federal government’s annual point-in-time count — a nationwide effort to calculate the country’s homeless population.

The convening in Skid Row that night was emblematic of the partnerships that are necessary to make significant progress in the fight against veteran homelessness, McDonough said.

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