Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Ted Lieu (both D-Calif.) today applauded the inclusion of a provision in the defense authorization bill that will allow funds generated by easements at the West LA VA campus to support housing developments for homeless veterans.
Without this provision, funds generated by easements (the use of VA land for non-VA purposes) on the campus go to the U.S. Treasury’s general fund rather than to the VA for use on veteran-related activities.
“Congressman Lieu and I enacted a law last year allowing the VA to use funds generated on the West LA VA campus for new veteran housing, but the portion of that bill giving easement revenue the same treatment was not included,” Senator Feinstein said. “This bill will finish the job, allowing funds generated by any easements on campus to help build more housing for homeless veterans. This is yet another step in our long mission to repurpose the West LA VA campus to address the homelessness crisis and ensure these veterans receive the care they deserve.”
“Over the years, Senator Feinstein and I have fought hard to ensure that our West LA veterans receive the funding they deserve. I’m pleased a provision in this year’s defense authorization will allow the West LA VA to receive easement revenue and use the money for veteran housing and services,” Representative Lieu said. “This builds on Senator Feinstein and my efforts to ensure the West LA VA is the recipient of campus lease revenue. With these additional funds, the West LA VA will be even better positioned to support local veterans, especially those experiencing homelessness. I look forward to continuing to work with the VA, veteran advocates and community partners to creatively and collaboratively help our homeless veterans and ensure the West LA VA is meeting the needs of our community.”
In June 2021, President Biden signed the West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act into law. This Feinstein-Lieu law allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to contribute land-use revenues generated at the West LA VA campus to the development of supportive housing and services for homeless veterans. Previously the VA could only use lease proceeds for campus beautification.
A provision in that bill to allow funds generated from easements on campus to go toward housing and services was not included in the version that was signed into law. Senator Feinstein and Congressman Lieu led an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act to correct this issue, allowing funds from easements to remain on campus.
The House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act with this language earlier today. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week, which will then go to President Biden for his signature.
- In 2015, Feinstein, Lieu and then-Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the Veterans Care Agreement and West Los Angeles Leasing Act to restore the VA’s leasing authority at the West Los Angeles VA Campus.
- Leasing authority allowed the department to partner with nonprofits to build housing for homeless veterans and expand supportive services. The bill became law in 2016 and facilitated 1,200 new units of homeless housing.