WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) applauded President Joe Biden for signing the West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act into law. This legislation will help the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) address veteran homelessness in the Los Angeles area. In addition, it helps VA use already available funding streams for certain homeless veteran programs, thus reducing the need for taxpayer funds.
In 2016, Congress passed the Rep. Lieu’s West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016, a law intended to clean up the campus and end most non-veteran related leases. The law also helped spur the redevelopment of the VA. The VA is now implementing a plan to build at least 1,200 new subsidized apartments, which is composed of 23 projects that range from renovating existing structures to developing and building new units. The West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act of 2021 ensures that funds recouped following execution of 2016 bill goes directly back to the West LA VA.
“No one who served our country should ever go without housing,” Congressman Lieu said. “I’m proud that our bill to expand the West LA VA campus’s ability to provide housing for homeless veterans has been signed by the president. Our legislation contains a number of improvements, including a commonsense solution to ensure that VA lease revenue goes toward housing and other services for our veterans. I want to thank Senator Feinstein for her tireless efforts to help get this bill across the finish line. We will continue working with our Senate partners and others to ensure the West LA VA can best serve our nation’s heroes.”
“With around 4,000 homeless veterans in LA, the city faces a huge challenge to find homes and resources for this at-risk population,” Senator Feinstein said. “Allowing funds that are generated on campus to build housing is a no-brainer. I’m proud to continue working with Congressman Lieu and others to turn the West LA VA campus into a model for the nation on how we can house and provide comprehensive services to as many homeless veterans as possible.”
Background on the bill:
- Authorizes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to use funds collected from leases and other use-agreements on the West LA VA campus for the development of supportive housing and services on campus.
- Increases the time period for enhanced use leases on the campus from 75 to 99 years. Increasing the length of leases will help streamline the construction of 1,200 units of supportive housing on campus while reducing long-term costs.
The West LA Campus Improvement Act is Supported by:
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl: “Signing this bill into law is a giant step forward in meeting our obligation to veterans who have served and sacrificed so much for this country. The West LA VA Campus Improvement Act will help us to meet this important obligation by ensuring that VA lease revenue is directed to housing and services for our LA vets. Over the last 10 years, we have made great progress in housing veterans who are experiencing homelessness, but much more remains to be done, and the passage of this legislation will help us with the crucial work of continuing to reduce the number of vets who are homeless.”
Steve Peck, CEO of U.S.VETS, and a member of the team that will be constructing more than 1,450 housing units for homeless veterans on the West LA VA campus: “I want to thank Senator Feinstein and Representative Lieu for their commitment to Los Angeles veterans and determination to get this legislation enacted into law so quickly. The bill that President Biden signed into law today will help put a roof over the heads of veterans in need and promote their housing stability, long term health and recovery.”
Anthony Allman, Army veteran and executive director at Vets Advocacy, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit created to fulfill the promise of a veterans community at VA West Los Angeles: “This is a win for homeless veterans. The Improvement Act reinforces the clear intent of the West LA Leasing Act of 2016 and permits investing campus revenues in long overdue infrastructure projects, housing construction and services on campus. The ongoing commitment of Senator Feinstein and Representative Lieu to making sure VA is resourced to accomplish this mission deserves our highest praise.”
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