DOWNTOWN — By unanimous consent, the Senate Friday passed the Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act, which authorizes $35.5 million to address the critical need for veteran housing and homeless services at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.
The Department of Veterans Affairs already set aside the money for the renovation of the VA facility; Friday’s bill, which now goes to President Obama for approval, was the final step in securing the funds, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Of that money, some $20 million is expected to go to restoring Building 209, which will provide long-term therapeutic housing for chronically homeless veterans.
“At long last this renovation can begin,” said Feinstein, who in 2010 secured a commitment from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to renovate three buildings at the VA to help house and accommodate additional services for more than 8,000 homeless veterans in the greater Los Angeles area.
“One out of every 10 veterans without a roof over their head lives in Los Angeles, so there is a critical need for more housing at the West L.A. VA,” Feinstein said. “It is our obligation to provide housing and services for those who have sacrificed for our country’s safety, and I’m gratified the five-year battle to secure funds for our veterans was successful.”
The $35.5 million approved Friday will renovate the first of the three buildings.
“Secretary Shinseki committed to renovating two additional buildings on the campus, and we intend to hold him and the administration to that commitment,” Feinstein added.
The House of Representatives approved the funding measure Tuesday. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Santa Monica, carried the bill.