Los Angeles County, with a population of more than 66,000 people, is at the forefront of a national homelessness crisis. But LA faces an additional, urgent challenge: more than 3,900 veterans are living on the streets, nearly 1 in 10 of all homeless veterans nationwide.
Fortunately, Los Angeles is also home to the West Los Angeles VA Campus, a 388-acre site dedicated to serving the needs of veterans that has enormous potential to create more supportive housing units.
The land was deeded to the federal government in 1888 and for decades thousands of veterans lived there. Unfortunately, following damage from the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake, the VA began transitioning the land away from housing. While the VA hospital remained, much of the rest of the land was used for other, non-veteran focused purposes.
In 2016, we joined former Senator Barbara Boxer in securing passage of the West Los Angeles Leasing Act. This law led to the end of most non-veteran related leases on campus and helped spur the redevelopment of the property into a true home for veterans.