LOS ANGELES — Robert Reynolds, who is a veteran, has made the journey from his home to the west LA Veterans Affairs almost every morning for the last three years.
Reynolds, an adviser for AMVETS, a congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization, goes to advocate for the homeless veterans who for years were living in tents along San Vicente Boulevard on the Veterans Affairs’ sidewalk.
Even though those veterans are now in small shelters on Veterans Affairs property as part of the Care Treatment and Rehabilitative Services program (CTRS), it took blood, sweat and many tears to get to them off the street.
“It’s frustrating what happened. You spend nights just trying to make sense of it all,” Reynolds said.
What makes little sense, he said, is that in his opinion, the delays in getting vets into programs contributed in part to two killings on veterans’ row.
“Why wasn’t this done before? Why did it take two people losing their lives for that to happen?”
There were multiple reasons for the delays in services and housing. Sometimes the vets themselves resisted it, but other things stood in their way, from institutional limitations outlined in a recent RAND report to the pandemic.