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Washington—The national defense funding bill passed by the Senate includes legislation drafted by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala D. Harris (both D-Calif.) to allow the West Los Angeles National Guard Armory to operate as a year-round homeless shelter.

The legislation would allow the General Services Administration to modify the armory’s 1957 deed so that it can be used as a year-round homeless shelter, which would provide 150 beds. For the past 10 years, the armory has been used as a temporary overnight shelter only during the winter months.

“Our country, and Los Angeles in particular, is grappling with a homeless crisis and we’ve got to look at ways to replicate and expand programs that are already working,” Senator Feinstein said. “West LA lacks affordable space to build enough homeless shelters, and housing a winter shelter at the armory has shown it can fill that need without interrupting National Guard operations. Turning it into a year-round facility will provide comfort and shelter to more individuals experiencing homelessness.”

There are nearly 59,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County, and more than 41,000 of those individuals have no other option but to sleep on the streets.

The bill makes clear that the shelter would not interfere with the armory’s primary function as a National Guard training site.