A group of veterans is suing the Department of Veteran Affairs, saying the 387 acre West LA VA campus has been used improperly and that they want more of it to be dedicated to mentally ill vets. According to the AP, the lawsuit says that the land was deeded to the government in 1888 "in order to provide housing for disabled war veterans." But at this point, a lot of the buildings are empty and one-third have been leased out for commercial uses--the New York Times says homeless advocates think that's the VA "bowing to residents of the property’s prosperous Brentwood neighborhood." Non-vet uses include: a car rental agency, a laundry for the Marriott, a sporting facility for UCLA, and a theater operator. A lawyer for the ACLU, which is working on the suit, told the AP that the VA "never publicized" what it receives for those leases or what the proceeds are used for. If the suit is successful, it'll mean housing for mentally ill veterans--the lawyer says the campus "could be made suitable for these veterans in less than the five or so months it took to plan and invade Iraq," which seems a little farfetched considering many of the unused buildings are aging and need seismic work. Being a giant piece of land on the Westside has made the West LA VA campus frequently coveted over the years.
· Homeless Veterans Sue Over Neglected Campus [NYT]
· Suit: VA misusing LA land meant for homeless vets [AP]