Aug 01 2013
New housing, medical outreach and other services for Los Angeles County’s more than 6000 homeless veterans
Washington—U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky today announced that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has made a commitment to fund and support an array of services to help homeless veterans in Los Angeles starting in the next month.
At a meeting this week in Senator Feinstein’s Washington office, attended by Feinstein, Waxman and Yaroslavsky, Secretary Shinseki announced that he has directed the Department to expand housing vouchers for homeless veterans, increase medical outreach workers and have a dedicated homeless center at the West Los Angeles VA facility.
Senator Feinstein said, “More than 6,000 veterans in Los Angeles are homeless on any given night. Candidly, this is a disgrace and a chronic problem that we can do something about. The VA made a commitment to increase support services to these veterans, and I intend to hold them to that commitment. Our nation’s veterans need to know they have our unwavering support and that starts with access to the services they need when they return home.”
Congressman Waxman said, “Secretary Shinseki showed a sincere desire to turn the crisis of veteran homelessness in Los Angeles around. He has committed to ending veteran homelessness by 2015 and it simply cannot be done without a good strategy for the chronically homeless. He is putting real weight into this fight.”
Supervisor Yaroslavsky said, “Secretary Shinseki’s decision to scale up services to chronically homeless veterans in Los Angeles is the single most significant development in years. This unprecedented investment will allow us to house and treat more than ten times as many homeless vets in the next two years than we did over the last two. This is huge.”
Los Angeles County has the largest populations of homeless veterans in the nation—an estimated 6,291 homeless veterans sleep on the streets every night. Senator Feinstein, Representative Waxman, and Supervisor Yaroslavsky have made providing long-term therapeutic housing for chronically homeless veterans a priority in the Southern California region. The VA’s announcement on increasing an array of services represents significant progress.
Secretary Shinseki pledged to make more housing available and to strengthen services for homeless veterans by:
- Expanding Project 60, which provides permanent supportive housing to severely mentally ill chronically homeless veterans;
- Increasing HUD-VASH vouchers, which provide housing and therapeutic services to homeless veterans;
- Securing temporary use of vacant beds in the State Veterans Home at the West LA VA to house homeless veterans, until full State funding becomes available for veterans who are on the waiting list for nursing home care;
- Developing a Comprehensive Homeless Center at the West LA VA to serve as a “one-stop shop” for homeless veterans to obtain services;
- Expanding Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Teams, to identify and engage homeless veterans on the street to bring them into permanent supportive housing and to assist the veteran to remain housed;
- Renovating Buildings 205 and 208, which have been designated to house homeless veterans and provide therapeutic services, through public-private partnerships.