Washington—The national defense funding bill for 2020 includes legislation drafted by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala D. Harris (both D-Calif.) that would allow the West Los Angeles National Guard Armory to operate as a year-round homeless shelter. The Senate is expected to vote on the funding bill later this week.
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 with 150 beds. For the past 10 years, the armory has been used as a temporary shelter only during the winter months.
“Los Angeles is facing a homeless crisis that’s compounded by a severe shortage of year-round shelters,” said Senator Feinstein. “This is particularly a problem in West LA where there simply are few affordable sites to build a homeless shelter. Our legislation builds on the success of the armory’s temporary shelter by allowing the county to operate it all year, giving individuals access to shelter and other vital services necessary to help get them off the streets. I’m grateful to Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Reed for including this important legislation in the defense bill.”
“Our country is facing an affordable housing crisis, and we must address it,” said Senator Harris. “Throughout Los Angeles in particular, people experiencing homelessness do not have enough options to have a bed to sleep in and a roof over their heads. Our legislation to allow Los Angeles County to operate the West Los Angeles National Guard Armory as a year-round homeless shelter is an important step towards providing these individuals with a measure of safety and security.”
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 shelter would not interfere with the armory’s primary function as a National Guard training site.
The defense funding bill also includes key provisions from another Feinstein-Harris bill, the Ensuring Safe Housing for our Military Act, to address how problems at contractor-provided military housing are addressed.
For more information on that bill, click here.