At the beginning of this year, a federal court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs was going to have to start housing veterans at its enormous West LA campus, as it was supposed to have been doing all along. Now the draft version of a master plan to turn the nearly 400-acre property into a veteran-focused residential community is here, and boasts designs that would add a total of 1,600 units of housing (some transitional, some permanent) for homeless veterans, plus a 200-bed inpatient hospital, all in walkable neighborhoods linked together with paths, says KPCC.
The master plan draft, put together by the firm architecture and engineering firm HOK, breaks the large campus into four zones, each with its own focus. Zone One, the furthest south, would have the new hospital and all healthcare facilities. Zone Two would begin north of Wilshire and hold the 700 temporary housing units and a good chunk of services for things like legal, housing, and employment assistance, and benefits.
Zone Three is where the 900 permanent housing units would go, and Zone Four, at the northern end of the campus, would have wheelchair-accessible recreation space, including a Japanese garden and a golf course. Each zone would be set up as its own walkable neighborhood, and they'd be linked together by walking paths.
The master plan doesn't include any information on how the VA plans to remove the non-veteran tenants they have on the property now; UCLA, for instance, leases a baseball field on the campus. A rep for the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs tells KPCC that the final version of this draft plan is due around January, and will include a framework for booting out the other uses on the site. There's also no plan for funding the huge overhaul, which is a big reason the VA was leasing out much of this space instead of building housing in the first place. Still, even if only a portion of this housing gets built, it'll be a huge help in housing Los Angeles's homeless veterans.
These changes would kind of be returning the VA to past versions of itself. The campus was "a thriving veteran community" until about the 1960s, when they stopped accepting new residents.
· Proposed changes to West LA campus could house 1,600 homeless vets [SCPR]
· Work Begins to Turn the West LA VA Campus Into a Community [Curbed LA]
· Veterans Sue to Take West LA VA Back From Fancy Brentwooders [Curbed LA]