Los Angeles VA under Pressure to Provide Care for Homeless Vets

13 Jun 2011

According to estimates, veterans account for nearly 20% of people living on streets and in homeless shelters in Los Angeles.  In fact, they are up to 50% more likely to be homeless than non-veteran civilians.   VA disability benefit lawyers have been aware of this tragic state of affairs for a while, and now the American Civil Liberties Union is turning the heat on a Veterans’ Affairs facility in Los Angeles.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs facility in Los Angeles is housed inside a 387-acre property.  In 1888, two persons donated the land to the federal government to be used as a home for disabled vets.  Over the next few years, tens of thousands of disabled veterans were housed there.  However, in the '60s, the federal government began the process of phasing out housing arrangements on the property.  Now, the only housing that exists there is a nursing home facility.

According to the lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, much of the property has been leased out to commercial interests.  For example, about one-third of the West Los Angeles property is leased out to car rental companies, hotel laundries and other commercial interests.  According to the Veterans’ Affairs Department, these sites have been leased out to these businesses because the rent helps keep the facility running.  However, the VA has failed to disclose exactly how much rent comes in or how the money is being used.

The ACLU lawsuit is also targeting the fact that a large property like this has little long-term housing for homeless vets, in spite of the fact that this was the original aim of the property donation.  The lawsuit seeks an injunction that would force the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide permanent housing for these veterans. 

We promise our veterans when they go to battle that we will never forget their service to our nation.  The least we can do is make sure that they have a roof over their heads when they return.