For Dale Wilson, conducting Los Angeles County’s annual homeless count this week was a homecoming of sorts.
Building 257 at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs campus in West Los Angeles is where he ended three years of living on the streets, much of it mired in addiction. The Army veteran finally decided that he had spent too many years in jail and too much time apologizing to his son, also an Army veteran.
So Wilson came to this building, which serves as the Veterans Welcome Center, got a shelter bed and got clean. That was almost eight years ago.
Now the 60-year-old, with fading tattoos and a round, friendly smile with a few missing teeth, lives with his wife in an apartment in Bellflower. He is also an outreach worker for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
He credits the VA with saving his life.