VA in West LA addressing issues surrounding veterans, homelessness

Josh Haskell Image
Monday, March 6, 2023
New space offers veterans space to call home
The West Los Angeles V-A is working to keep homeless veterans off the streets by renovating buildings on its westside campus.

West L.A. (KABC) -- The West Los Angeles V-A is working to keep homeless veterans off the streets.

"I can't call my car home, but this is home right here. It's permanent," said Maurice Valerio.

For years, 80 year old buildings like this one deteriorated, some even sat vacant, on the campus of the West L.A. VA. But all of that is starting to change, in an effort to address veteran homelessness. 63-year old Valerio moved into a renovated building last week, which will house 59 senior veterans, many formerly homeless.

"When I came back from desert storm, I had issues so we separated, me and my wife. I should have gotten help then to overcome it, but I thought I could do it myself. But I couldn't."

There's an estimated 4,000 homeless veterans in L.A. County. Many come to the VA's campus for services, but lack a permanent place to live. Now they have a home and will have the supportive services from mental health, drug addiction, and many other medical issues right across the street.

Construction is taking place all over the campus of the West LA VA, eventually transforming old buildings and constructing new facilities into a supportive housing community for 3,000 veterans and their families.

"At first, I thought it was going to be a small place. I looked at it and said wow, it's better than I thought," said Valerio. "It was a blessing. I can't believe they did all this. I urge every veteran that's out there that's homeless, take advantage of it. Come over here. Find out. It's not going to come to you. You've got to come to it."

"Today is amazing. We've got a really long road, but to get 207 open to have veterans start moving in, it's a step in the right direction," said Tanya Bradsher, Chief of Staff, Veterans Affairs.

What's being built in West LA isn't just about housing veterans, but keeping them housed and making sure no one ends up homeless again.

"For a long time we had this plan in place and it didn't look like anything was happening. Now, with the opening of this building, it finally looks like something is happening. Two more buildings will be opening up in the next couple of months for another 120 veterans experiencing homelessness and then we have four others in the process of breaking ground for completion next year," said Dr. Steven Braverman, Medical Center Director, VA Greater Los Angeles