Jan 28 2016
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the final master plan for the West Los Angeles VA campus:
“I strongly support the West LA VA master plan, which was released today by the VA. This is a key step to transform the campus into a leading provider of veterans’ services.
“The Los Angeles area is home to the largest number of veterans in the country—300,000. While the department has made progress in reducing the number of homeless veterans, the city estimates that more than 4,000 veterans remain homeless. That’s why getting the master plan right is so important.
“The plan proposes developing up to 900 units of new housing through new construction and renovation of existing buildings—in addition to the 180 units at Buildings 209, 205 and 208 that are complete or underway. Importantly, housing will be connected to health care, education, legal and mental health services to address the underlying causes of veteran homelessness and help veterans become self-sufficient.
“To help implement this part of the plan, Congress should pass the Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act, a bill to provide the department the authority it needs to quickly and efficiently construct housing and provide additional services. The Veterans’ Affairs Committee has held a hearing on the bill and is expected to pass it soon. I’ve also had good conversations with Congressman Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, about the benefits of using community partners to build housing and provide services.
“The master plan designates an area on the campus for a new 450,000 square-foot hospital building to be completed by 2020. The hospital building is seismically unsafe and must be replaced. This is a significant project and I’m working with my colleagues and the administration to secure funding for it.
“The master plan also calls for the benefits office to be relocated to the campus from the city’s federal office building. This is a change I have long advocated for and one that will make it significantly easier for veterans to learn about and access the benefits they have earned.
“My sincere thanks to Secretary McDonald and his team for their tireless work to get this done after several previous attempts stalled. I look forward to working with them to implement the plan.”