Los Angeles County officials have cleared an encampment along San Vicente Boulevard as part of an effort to relocate homeless veterans into temporary shelters inside the Veterans Affairs (VA) campus in Brentwood.
About six people were at the encampment when it was cleared, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. An accounting from last month had the population of the encampment at 40 people. The figure represents just a small fraction of the roughly 4,000 unhoused veterans living in the county, according to recent government estimates.
The relocation came after months of outreach to homeless veterans, Robert Reynolds, an advocate with veterans service organization AMVETS, told the Times.
“You get a veteran inside, another one shows up,” Reynolds said, adding that diminished resources from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs have contributed to the swelling of the headcount for homeless veterans.
The encampment has become a symbol of the city’s homelessness crisis, with politicians regularly visiting and making statements about the site. During a speech earlier this month at the Milken Institute Global Conference–held a few miles away in at the Beverly Hilton – Governor Gavin Newsom said that he had been in talks with the VA for over a year about the encampment.
Veteran Affairs Denis McDonough previously announced a plan to provide housing for more than 500 homeless veterans in the city, including the many living outside Veterans Affairs campus. The plan comes in two phases. The first part involves relocating the 40 living outside of the campus by this month. The second phase involves providing housing for an additional 500 veterans by the end of the year.
The VA eventually plans to move the homeless veterans out of temporary shelter and into a tiny-home village inside the campus. The village is currently under construction, with several veterans moved into completed homes on the site.
[Los Angeles Times] – Christian Bautista