Homeless Brentwood vets moved to housing before encampments are cleared

Josh Haskell Image
Saturday, October 30, 2021
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Efforts are underway to clear encampments in Brentwood, but first local officials are trying to provide housing for homeless vets and others in the tents.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Army veteran Gembob Brookhyser is one of 40 homeless vets living on San Vicente Boulevard outside the gates of the Westwood VA for the past 20 months.

The Brentwood encampment is located on county property. On Friday the public works department and the sheriff's homeless outreach services team were seen preparing to move the homeless into housing and clear the encampment by Monday.

"Happy as I can be I suppose. I'm looking forward to seeing whether they can keep their word and if they can, I believe it will be a great success," said Brookhyser.

"Over the course of time the finger pointing and the inaction has been frustrating to the extreme. And frankly as inconvenient and distressing as it is for us, it's more so for them," said Mickey Faigen, who lives across the street from the encampment.

Two residents of the encampment have been murdered and it's been a painful sight to see Americans who served our country struggling to survive on the streets of Brentwood right outside a place that's supposed to help.

"There is no one who doesn't feel for these folks. There is no one who doesn't appreciate that they sacrificed and that they are due more than living out on the street. On the other hand, folks will tell you that there's been a problem in getting them to voluntarily avail themselves of the services that have been offered," said Faigen.

The veterans who occupy the Brentwood encampment are being offered a variety of housing options which include the tent camp on VA property, a tiny home village, available dorms on the Westwood VA's campus and Project Homekey.

"It's important that the veterans have options because not one solution fits all of them and we don't want to set them up for failure. We owe it to the veterans. The serve our country and we have to give them back what they deserve. So we're going to do our best to get these folks housed and thriving," said David Yim, a supervisor of social work at the Westwood VA.