Program offers safe parking spots for homeless vets at West LA Veterans Affairs office

Amy Powell Image
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Program offers safe parking spots for homeless vets at West LA VA office
A safe parking program has been set up with 10 parking spots for homeless veterans to park their cars and sleep at the Los Angeles veteran affairs campus.

WEST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Adam Halvorsen wants to find housing in the Los Angeles area, but for almost a year the homeless veteran lived in his van.

On Monday night, he didn't have to hunt for a good place to park. He spent the night in a secure parking lot on the Department of Veterans Affairs campus.

"I would rather sleep in the car than be around anything that brings me down," Halvorsen said. "The Safe Parking L.A. is something that I can get a good night's sleep."

There are an estimated 4,500 homeless veterans in L.A. and about half of them sleep in their cars on the streets.

"When you're sleeping in your car on the street, you don't know who's around you. You don't know if you're going to get a ticket or a fine," said Heidi Marston, with Greater Los Angeles VA.

Safer Parking Los Angeles partnered with the VA to provide a designated parking area for veterans who sleep in their cars. For now, there are 10 nightly spaces available.

"We know the need is great. We have plans on this campus to build permanent housing, but we know that takes time. So what can we do in the meantime to make sure that we're filling that gap?" Marston said.

VA officials encourage those who take part in the program to take advantage of homeless services on the campus.

"They can rest easy tonight knowing they won't be hassled or harassed. They're going to be on a pathway to getting housed," Councilman Mike Bonin said.

Bonin hopes to expand the program beyond veterans. He hopes to open more safe parking lots for the homeless over the next few months.