Landmark Suit Against VA in West LA Gets Green Light From Federal Judge

LOS ANGELES – In a significant legal development, a federal lawsuit filed by homeless veterans against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has gained traction. U.S. District Judge David Carter, a Vietnam War veteran, denied the VA’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, urging Congressional action to address the acute housing crisis facing veterans.

VA officials contend Carter’s ruling contains legal errors, citing existing housing and treatment programs for veterans. However, attorneys for the unhoused veterans did not object to the ruling during Thursday’s hearing.

“I’m very happy Judge Carter denied all of this,” said Rob Reynolds, a veteran deeply involved in the case. “This is a step in the right direction; we have a long road ahead, but it’s the right direction.”

The lawsuit initiated last year is challenging the management of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) 388-acre campus in Brentwood. Originally established as a “soldier’s home,” the campus has significantly strayed from its foundational purpose. The campus currently has a number of vacant and underutilized buildings, alongside land leases to entities that do not primarily serve veterans. Thursday’s legal action follows a 2011 court decision that resulted in the termination of several campus leases not beneficial to veterans. In a 2015 settlement agreement, the VA pledged to build 1,200 permanent supportive housing units by 2022, a number that has yet to be fulfilled.

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