Almost 60 formerly homeless veterans will receiving housing at the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Affairs (VA) campus just east of Santa Monica in Brentwood with the opening of the newly renovated Building 207 to serve veterans 62 and older who were formerly homeless or are considered at-risk.
Developed by The Veterans Collective, a partnership between Century Housing, Thomas Safran and Associates and U.S. VETS, Building 207 is the first of 20 veteran housing and supportive services buildings planned for the West LA VA North Campus.
Many buildings on the 400 acre campus have gone unused for years and the VA has received criticism for not utilizing the land more effectively to house and provide services to veterans.
“Once complete, the West LA VA North Campus will have more than 1,200 units of veteran housing and a thriving community with services for 3,000 residents and veterans across Los Angeles County,” Senior Vice President of Century Housing Brian D’Andrea said.
A lawsuit was filed against the agency by a group of homeless veterans in November 2022 for failing to build the promised 1,200 units sooner. Those who spoke at this week’s event acknowledged this shortcoming but said that progress is being made, highlighting the opening of Building 207 as an example.
“Things are happening, we are making progress, it takes a while,” Thomas Safran, Chairman of Thomas Safran and Associates told the audience.
Newly elected L.A. City Council Member for District 11 Traci Park which includes West L.A. also spoke at the event.
“Every veteran has a story, every veteran has a family and every veteran has needs while they are on active duty and often even long after they return home,” she said. “But tragically, too many of those stories are never heard, and while their families make sacrifices during deployments, and oftentimes for many years or decades afterwards, military families are not always adequately supported and all too often the individual needs of our veterans are not met.”
There are an estimated 33,000 homeless veterans in the US, approximately 4,000 of which are in the LA area.
Tanya Bradsher, chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs emphasized the need for continued work to address the issue.
“To be clear, this is just one step in a very long road and the work ahead of us is also a step in the right direction to end veteran homelessness,” she said. “While today is the ribbon cutting ceremony, and we all know it’s so much more than that, it’s also about providing a home for 59 veterans that reflects the honor and dignity owed to them through their service and their sacrifice. It’s about ensuring that the words ‘homelessness’and ‘veterans’ never exist together.”