Master plan to benefit veterans
Team will orchestrate creation of permanent supportive housing at West L.A. VA campus.
The federal Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen a team to devise a master plan, due Oct. 16, for revitalizing the agency’s West Los Angeles campus to serve veterans in need of housing and other aid.
“We will transform the West L.A. VA campus into a vibrant community,” Vincent Kane, senior advisor on homelessness to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, said in a statement Thursday.
The master plan team will comprise three f irms that will work with residents, veterans service organizations, elected officials and nonprofit groups to determine how best to use and refurbish the campus. The VA has been criticized for inadequate utilization, even as more than 4,300 veterans sleep on the streets of Los Angeles County.
In January, the VA agreed to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of chronically homeless veterans. The agency agreed to transform the sprawling campus into a center of permanent housing and to curtail the practice of leasing VA facilities to corporations and other nongovernment entities.
Local and federal officials have committed to ending veterans’ homelessness in the county by the end of the year. Last week, the West L.A. campus opened a structure with supportive housing for homeless veterans with medical and mental health needs.
The team developing the master plan includes:
HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm with 60 years of experience. The firm’s Cedars-Sinai advanced health sciences pavilion won a 2013 design award from the American Institute of Architects California Council.
Walsh Group, a construction firm that has worked for more than two decades on VA projects and is completing a medical development for the VA Loma Linda Healthcare Center.
Core Cos., which designs and develops belowmarket-rate residential properties through partnerships with public agencies, nonprofit groups and private financial institutions. Core is completing a project to serve homeless veterans at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s Menlo Park Division.
The VA said the master plan would reflect the intent to use the campus for permanent supportive housing
“I applaud West L.A VA’s efforts to return its primary focus to housing and serving veterans,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance). “No one who has fought for their country at home and abroad should have to fight for a roof over their head.”