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Redevelopment of VA Greater Los Angeles West L.A. Campus represents proof of concept for the nation as a way forward in tackling homelessness

April 22, 2022, 03:00:00 PM

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Redevelopment of VA Greater Los Angeles West L.A. Campus represents proof of concept for the nation as a way forward in tackling homelessness

WASHINGTON — As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to end Veteran homelessness, Secretary Denis McDonough released Master Plan 2022, April 22, detailing the updated vision for a stable and supportive community for homeless and other at-risk Veterans and their families at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

This latest action is in keeping with President Biden’s commitment to uphold VA’s sacred obligations to Veterans, which he announced as part of his Unity Agenda.

Master Plan 2022 also maps the progress to date at the West LA VA campus and provides a path forward with transparency and accountability to ensure it meets the standards of care Veterans have earned.

“Progress on Master Plan 2022 continues to be a top VA priority, as is our commitment to eliminate Veteran homelessness across the nation,” McDonough said. “Ready access to health care is critical to meeting the mental and physical health needs of those experiencing homelessness. The West LA campus supports one of the largest, most complex medical centers in the VA system and provides Veterans with access to a full continuum of health care services.”

Ensuring all Veterans, regardless of gender, race or orientation, have a safe secure place to live is greatly important to VA. Los Angeles has the largest homeless Veteran population in country with almost 10% of all homeless Veterans across the U.S. located there. As the homeless problem is solved in LA it gives momentum to VA’s ongoing efforts across the country.

Implementation of Master Plan 2022 for VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System includes:

  • Ensuring all VA programs, activities, resources and initiatives prioritize the needs of Veterans, striving to serve them when, where and how they want to be served.
  • Enabling the West LA campus to provide a variety of high-quality supportive housing and a holistic set of resources tailored to the needs of vulnerable Veteran populations and their families.
  • Interconnecting campus operations in real-time with available off-site resources including VA community-based facilities/services; state, county, city and neighborhood systems; Veteran Service Organizations and non-profit organizations.
  • Optimizing the West LA campus as a vibrant and welcoming Veterans community while honoring its legacy wherever possible through restoration of original structures and key outdoor spaces, and developing new facilities, services and amenities that are compatible with the character of the campus.

Master Plan 2022 is the culmination of the latest processes to update the Draft Master Plan signed in 2016. As part of this initiative to date VA has:

  • Finalized a required Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement in June 2019 to allow for development of the 388-acre West Los Angeles campus.
  • Secured $75.5 million in fiscal year 2020 through FY 2022 for utility and infrastructure capital improvements with an additional $34.6 million allocated for FY 2023.
  • Opened permanent supportive housing in building 209 providing 54 units for homeless Veterans.
  • Concluded construction of a Women Veterans Transitional Housing program.
  • Competitively selected a principal developer and started construction on three additional buildings providing a combined total of 180 permanent supportive housing units.
  • Established two low-barrier-to-entry temporary shelter initiatives offering more than 220 spaces for Veterans experiencing homelessness.
  • Signed an easement agreement with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in spring 2021 for a new Metro station. This brings regional transportation back to the West LA campus for thousands of Veterans and employees.

Veterans and members of local communities provided valuable input in the process through discussion at multiple public town hall meetings as well as written public comments. By virtue of the campus’ origins — the 2015 Partnership Agreement, ensuing Draft Master Plan and related legislation — VA is obligated to co-locate supportive housing on the West LA VA campus.

The department periodically reevaluates and updates the Master Plan to ensure it meets the standards of care for Veterans and reflects changing demand over time. VA will continue to engage the Veteran community in the Master Plan’s successes and opportunities for improvement. Stay updated and learn more about the Master Plan 2022

As VA diligently works to build a future community on the grounds of the West Los Angeles campus Veterans are being housed and connected with resources available daily. From October to December last year more than 700 Veterans were placed in permanent and transitional housing in Los Angeles.

Additionally, across the nation, VA has: 

  • Awarded approximately $116.4 million in grants to about 200 community organizations through the Grant and Per Diem program in FY 2022, serving 22,000 Veterans. The GPD Program has approximately 600 active grants, nationwide, providing housing and services to support Veterans in their transition back to permanent housing.
  • Awarded approximately $418 million in grants to more than 260 non-profit organizations, through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program in FY 2022 allowing low-income Veteran families around the nation to access services.
  • Provided an additional $350 million to SSVF grantees to support the national expansion of the Shallow Subsidy initiative as well as recently updated regulations that will allow Shallow Subsidy services to assist with up to 50% of the rent for very-low income Veteran families.   
  • Distributed more than 56,000 smartphones to VA medical centers for Veterans in need.

VA has increased the FY 2023 budget for programs that address Veteran homelessness. An additional $20 million has been allocated to support Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing case management and $1.5 million for assistance with design and development of project-based housing partnerships for aging Veterans. To support homeless Veterans in enrolling in VA health care and coordinate with community partners, VA is allocating $16.5 million to add an additional Health Care for Homeless Veterans social worker at all 140 VA medical centers nationally. Additionally, $4 million is allocated for a 10-site pilot that will fund Contract Residential Services programs that provide temporary, emergency housing for geriatric Veterans who are experiencing street homelessness.

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