Bridge Housing Project Opens at the Brentwood V.A. This Saturday
This Saturday, the Westside’s second bridge housing project will open on the Veteran’s Administration Campus in Brentwood. The 50-bed project is for veterans experiencing homelessness. The bridge facility has been in the works for years, but will only be open for veteran’s who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. The project is designed for 100 beds, but is opening with fewer openings so residents can comply with social distancing guidelines.
Earlier today, the VA also announced the 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 campus “safe camping” 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.
These programs join the “safe parking lot” that offers homeless veterans with cars a safe and reliable place to sleep at night and access VA services.
“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,” Councilmember Mike Bonin said. “We can’t rest until every veteran has a place to call home, and until every unsheltered person in Los Angeles is allowed to come indoors.”
Bonin has been a leader at the City Council calling for more resources to protect both the unhoused and those living in fear of eviction during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to pushing for a much stronger moratorium on evictions during the crisis than what the city currently has, Bonin has been calling for unhoused Angelenos to be housed in vacant hotel rooms, and for the city of Los Angeles to create “safe camping” sites on vacant parking lots.
Today’s announcement is part of a much larger plan to retrofit parts of the V.A. to better serve homeless veterans. Thomas Safran Housing, Century Housing Corporation and U.S. VETS are spearheading a project that will see the VA campus undergo a major retrofit that will create over 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans, many of whom are currently unhoused.
Later this summer, the V.A. will break ground on a retrofit of “Building 207” that will provide 59 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans. Roughly 20% of the nearly $40 million project is coming from the HHH ballot measure, passed by voters in 2016 to build housing for the homeless.
“I am really pleased to see the local VA opening up the campus this way to those to whom it truly belongings,” Bonin said. “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.”