ABC7 SALUTES: Veterans housing program offers start of return to normalcy

A housing program in West L.A. offers veterans relief from temporary homelessness, and hope that they can return to normalcy.
WEST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Homelessness is a big problem for U.S. veterans; and so is getting those vets the help they need. ABC-7 salutes an effort to provide temporary housing during the covid-19 pandemic.

"They work together as a team. They have a mission to keep working together to help each other get out here,' said Veteran advocate Bob Rosebrock. "There are so many ways we can help resolve this."

In limbo, the veterans camping outside the West VA Medical Center campus face obstacles of all kinds, as they wait on one list or another, to enter even keeping a service dog.

"When I arrived, I was denied because I had a service dog. I actually ended up on the sidewalk with the veterans you see out here," said Robert Reynolds, US Army Infantry 2007.

According to the VA, the encampment residents could have access to full services, but are resistant to VA rules. This outpost is part transitional housing, part protest. Rosebrock says he would love to supervise this tent neighborhood securely the VA fence but with less red tape.

Rosebrock says his program of teamwork has already transformed his sidewalk camp. Before it had the look of skid row: a line of ragged pup tents. But then came help from small donors.

"One of them came from France because the lady was grateful for our troops, going into Normandy of 76 years ago," said Rosebrock.

COVID-19 brought new neighbors... Vets from scattered encampments relocated inside the fence. But Rosebrock says the tents there were a disgrace. Men in wheelchairs couldn't fit.

"I can't tell you the transformation of going from a sleeping bag to a walk-in tent, their own little residence," said Rosebrock. "They immediately take a responsibility."

Small steps in a long march says Reynolds, who found housing.

"They're having little duties to do and it starts getting them out of that funk of being homeless, you know," said Reynolds. "Getting back into a normal routine, so that way when they get housed they can be successful. That's what we want."
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