50 beds for homeless veterans
By Sam Catanzaro
Bridge housing for homeless veterans opened Saturday at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus with changes in place intended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to Councilmember Mike Bonin who represents Brentwood, the shelter will give “vulnerable, unhoused veterans an opportunity to comply with social distancing and public health protocols.”
The facility, built by the City of Los Angeles and funded by both the city and the county, will begin as a 50-bed shelter for unhoused veterans who are displaying no symptoms of COVID-19, according to Bonin. The shelter was originally designed as a 100-bed transitional shelter, but will temporarily house a smaller number of veterans in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.
“This is a small payment on the debt we owe our veterans, and I am grateful this facility is finally opening its doors and letting unhoused veterans in,” Bonin said.
This is the second “A Bridge Home” shelter opened in Council District 11. In January, a bridge shelter, accommodating 100 adults and 54 youth, opened in Venice.
The news of the opening of the facility was part of a larger plan by the Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. The VA also announced that 138 beds in building 214 are being made available to veterans who need to isolate or quarantine due to exposure to or risk of COVID-19. The VA is also allowing “safe camping” on the campus for unsheltered veterans in tents. The program, which will allow 25 veterans to participate, will provide showers, restrooms and hot meals, and may expand to accommodate a larger number of veterans.
“I am really pleased to see the local VA opening up the campus this way to those to whom it truly belongings,” Bonin said. “Veterans have been clamoring for more access for generations, and I am grateful the current team at VAGLAHS is stepping up and providing it. The addition of Safe Camping, while the VA builds long-term housing with its Master Plan, is a smart and greatly needed complement to the ‘Safe Parking’ the VA already offers to veterans who live in their cars.”