Nonprofit converting Los Angeles motels into housing for homeless veterans

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Many veterans find the struggles of post-military life lead them to homelessness.

Data from the most recent homeless count in 2020 shows about 3,900 of Los Angeles County's more than 66,000 homeless are U.S. veterans.

There is an effort to help those vets - by converting unused hotels.

For example, the Center Lake Hotel in the Westlake district of Los Angeles has sat nearly empty for three years.

But work is underway to transform the building into an apartment complex with 137 units for homeless veterans.

Tod Lipka, CEO of the nonprofit Step Up Second Street, says this is one of three motels across the city that are being converted into long-term housing for homeless veterans.

"It's permanent housing for veterans," he said. "They'll have a lease and they can live here for the rest of their lives."

Home Depot's nonprofit foundation has provided a boost with a $400,000 donation.

Lipka says Step Up has a 97% success rate keeping homeless veterans in housing for at least a year. Even with thousands on the streets, he hopes this will be a long-term solution for at least a few of them.

The project is set to be finished in two months.
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