WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced a comprehensive plan to help veterans in the Los Angeles community experiencing homelessness. In a press conference, Secretary McDonough announced that the VA and its partners will be providing housing for all veterans at the Brentwood encampment by the end of the month and has committed to housing an additional 500 veterans in Los Angeles by the end of the year.
In early October, Rep. Lieu joined Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Takano and other VA officials for a tour of the West LA VA campus including sites for future permanent supportive housing. The group toured areas where supportive housing for homeless veterans is being completed as a part of the West LA VA Master Plan.
“I’m pleased that, following his visit to the West LA VA earlier this month, Secretary McDonough is taking concrete steps to address veteran homelessness in Los Angeles. During the visit, I urged the Secretary to prioritize veteran homelessness at the agency, and specifically to focus on Southern California. He reaffirmed his and the Biden Administration’s commitment to this effort and today’s announcement reflects that. In Congress, Veterans Committee Chair Mark Takano and I have worked tirelessly on this issue and will continue to do so. From the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016 spurring redevelopment of the VA to include veteran housing to the West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act of 2021 ensuring the West LA has access to money for veteran homelessness programs, we’re continuing to champion our veterans. I will continue to work with the VA and local and state officials to make the necessary improvements to help our nation’s heroes. No one who has served our country in uniform should ever be without a roof over their heads.”
Background on Rep. Lieu’s legislation to support the West LA VA:
In 2016, Congressman Lieu and Senator Feinstein wrote – and President Obama signed – the West Los Angeles Leasing Act. The new law allows the VA to partner with nonprofits to build housing for homeless veterans and created the framework for a new Mast Plan to redevelop the campus. 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. Earlier this year Lieu and Feinstein partnered on the West Los Angeles VA Campus Improvement Act, which will ensure that funds recouped following execution of the 2016 bill go directly back to the West LA VA. Also, this year’s National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision authored by Rep. Lieu that authorizes the VA to use funds collected pursuant to leases, easements, civil asset forfeitures, or other use-agreements at the West LA VA for the development of supportive housing and services on campus for homeless veterans.
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