WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Henry Waxman sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget this week requesting that the president include funding in next year’s budget to house homeless vets in Los Angeles.
The plan is to fully renovate two buildings at the west L.A. Veterans Administration campus, building 205 and 208.
According to the most recent survey, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Homeless Count in 2011, there are 8,131 homeless veterans living in shelters and on the streets. The survey also showed that one in 10 homeless veterans reside in Los Angeles.
President Obama and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki have committed to eliminating veteran homelessness by 2015.
“As representatives for the Los Angeles community and strong supporters of the president’s goal, we ask that the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget include a request for authorization and funding to fully renovate these building so that they can quickly become safe and effective supportive housing for the thousands of homeless veterans in greater Los Angeles,” Feinstein and Waxman wrote. “The magnitude of the situation demands no less.”
Building 205 and 208 are currently slated to be corrected as part of the VA’s major construction project, “Seismic Correction of Eleven Buildings.” But future funding is required to turn these buildings into suitable housing and treatment centers.
Last month elected officials broke ground on a building at the west L.A. VA that will provide housing and services to 65 veterans. Building 209 will include 55 housing units and a dedicated women’s wing, federal officials said. Veterans who live there will have access to nearby medical services, and will also be taught life skills like cooking, cleaning and shopping so that they can ultimately transition into private housing of their own.
They will also receive job training.