Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced Feb. 4 she introduced legislation authorizing the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make it easier for homeless veterans to access supportive housing at the VA’s West Los Angeles campus.
The new legislation, according to information released by Feinstein’s office, would allow the VA to enter into long-term lease agreements on a pair of buildings in West Los Angeles. By doing so, the VA’s supply of supportive housing for homeless veterans would be increased.
“More than 6,000 veterans are homeless in Los Angeles. This is a disgrace and should be a national shame. We can’t afford to wait any longer to increase the housing supply at West L.A. VA,” Feinstein stated.
In a released statement, Feinstein added Los Angeles County has the largest concentration of veterans in the country.
The two buildings at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Campus subject to Feinstein’s bill are buildings 205 and 208. According to Feinstein, both buildings are vacant and “in need of renovation.”
“These partnerships are limited and are explicitly to provide housing and therapeutic services. The leases are not commercial in nature and will not detract from the designated mission of the campus – providing quality services to veterans,” a statement published on Feinstein’s website stated.
The senior California Senator added: “This legislation provides authority for the VA to seek public-private partnerships and expedite the renovation of homeless veterans housing. This is authority the Secretary of Veterans Affairs told me he needs to quicken the pace of renovations in buildings 205 and 208 and increase the number of beds and services for homeless veterans in Southern California. My colleagues in the Senate should pass this bill without delay.”
A private developer could partner with the VA to renovate the two buildings.
Rep. Henry Waxman might introduce a similar bill in the House of Representatives.