Los Angeles County officials have cleared a camp along San Vicente Boulevard as part of an attempt to relocate homeless veterans to temporary shelters on the Veterans Affairs (VA) campus in Brentwood.
About six people were at the camp when it was cleared, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. An account from last month had 40 residents in the camp. The figure represents only a small fraction of the roughly 4,000 uninhabited veterans living in the county, according to the latest government estimates.
The move came after months of outreach to homeless veterans, Robert Reynolds, a lawyer with veterans services organization AMVETS, told the Times.
“You get one veteran inside, another shows up,” Reynolds said, adding that diminished resources from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs have helped increase the number of homeless veterans.
The camp has become a symbol of the city’s homelessness crisis, with politicians regularly visiting and commenting on the place. During a speech earlier this month at the Milken Institute Global Conference – held a few miles away at the Beverly Hilton – Governor Gavin Newsom said he had been in talks with the VA for over a year about the camp.
Veteran Affairs Denis McDonough previously announced a plan to provide housing for more than 500 homeless veterans in the city, including the many who live off the Veterans Affairs campus. The plan comes in two phases. The first part involves the relocation of the 40 who live off campus before this month. The second phase involves providing housing for another 500 veterans before the end of the year.
The VA eventually plans to move the homeless veterans out of temporary shelter and into a small village inside the campus. The village is currently under construction and several veterans have moved into finished homes on the site.
[Los Angeles Times] – Christian Bautista