Congress OKs leases at VA campus in West L.A., clearing the way for more homeless vet housing
The House of Representatives voted Monday to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to again offer leases on its West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus, authority it needs before homes for disabled, female and homeless veterans can be built there.
The VA announced plans in January to develop the long-neglected 387-acre campus, the largest open parcel on the Westside. The development is part of the settlement of a lawsuit over substandard care of homeless veterans.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), along with former Rep. Henry Waxman, passed legislation suspending the VA's leasing authority in 2007 after years of mismanagement, and Congress has to approve a bill that restores it before the project can move forward. The leases will allow private companies to offer veterans such services as daycare, workforce training and healthcare on the grounds.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) co-sponsored H.R. 5936, the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016, which passed the House by voice vote Monday.
"Today represents a giant leap forward in restoring the property to the Old Soldiers’ Home it was always intended to be," Lieu said in a statement.
Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) are co-sponsoring the companion bill in the Senate, which is part of a larger measure for veterans that has yet to come up for a vote.
Feinstein said in a statement that she is working with the leaders of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to move the bill as quickly as possible.
“Los Angeles has the highest number of veterans and homeless veterans in the country and we need to get this bill done,” she said.