Back in October, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a draft version of their plan to refurbish their almost 400-acre West LA campus. Now, their updated plan to create about 1,900 housing units (both permanent and temporary) on the land has been revealed, says the LA Times. Some of the older buildings on the campus now would be adaptively reused as housing, meaning that with the right approvals, permanent housing could be open by next year. In addition to developing housing for veterans, the new campus would provide a variety of specialized support services to help all vets (not just the homeless ones) with everything from legal matters to mental health.
The idea "is not to convert the campus into a giant homeless village ... [but] to have the campus help prevent homelessness, to have services to intervene so families don't fall apart and become homeless," said one of the attorneys who brought a lawsuit against the VA that prompted them to retool their facilities so they'd be housing veterans.
Under the current plan, the housing would roll out in stages, with 490 units coming in the first 30 months, and up to 900 more units "if the need for veterans housing balloons in the coming years." (Judging by the current scarcity of housing in general right now, that's probably going to be needed.)
The campus ran into a bit of legal trouble recently when they were sued by a group of veterans who called the VA out for what they said was misuse of land—the campus's property had originally been deeded (in the late 1800s) for housing and helping vets. It was especially upsetting to them because the VA was leasing land to non-veteran tenants for things like a hotel laundry and a baseball field. This new plan was supposed to include a framework for gradually kicking those tenants out, but it doesn't exactly do that. Many of the tenants have already left on their own, but the VA's going to be partnering with some of the big tenants to enhance services at the future campus.
So UCLA, which has their baseball field on the VA, and the Brentwood school, which also has athletics on the campus, will stay. In exchange for continuing their tenancy, they're in talks with the VA to provide "veteran-centric" services and pay fair-market rents (they'd previously paid below-market). UCLA will be helping to develop the legal and family services on the overhauled VA, for instance.
The VA is waiting on some legal approvals from the feds, and has to work on getting nonprofit developers to remake the campus. The project will be funded by both public and private sources.
· VA proposes hundreds of housing units plus services for homeless vets at West L.A. campus [LAT]
· First Look at the Plan to Turn the Enormous West LA VA Into a Residential Community [Curbed LA]
· Work Begins to Turn the West LA VA Campus Into a Community [Curbed LA]