Los Angeles Just Made History By Doing Something VERY Special For Homeless Veterans (TWEETS)

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Homeless veterans facing traumatic brain injuries, major depression, and a whole rash of consequences of war that lead to homelessness, remain the country’s responsibility. These individuals gave everything for their country, so homelessness is not an acceptable option for the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti. He has come up with an original and relatively inexpensive solution.

There are approximately 4300 homeless veterans in Los Angeles County, with slightly more than 2700 living in the city, advocates say, even after intensive local and federal efforts. The county has the highest concentration of homeless veterans in the country.

Now, LA has decided to link nonprofit and private developers for the purpose of remodeling “nuisance” motels into 500 permanent apartments for homeless veterans. Garcetti released a written statement:

‘Instead of allowing blighted properties to decay, let’s use them to make powerful change in our communities by giving our veterans the access to services and housing that they need and deserve.’

President of Step Up Tod Lipka said:

‘New permanent supportive housing can take four or five years, and produce 30, 40 or 50 units at a time. Four hundred is exciting.’

The way it will work is the developers buy underutilized, run-down motels from their private owner. Then the developers remodel them into efficiency apartments. After that, LA’s housing authority will provide vouchers to the veterans, which are good for 15 years and funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The apartments will be open by January, say officials.

Those vouchers pay for the veterans’ rent and supportive services, such as counseling and case management. The landlords will be able to earn a good profit, too.

The number of LA homeless veterans rose by 6 percent in the past two years. Garcetti has pledged to get all service members off the street by the end of 2016. Garcetti was over halfway to his goal by January of this year.

Special assistant to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald Vince Kane said:

‘We’re behind. In L.A., we got off to a slow start.’

Philip Mangano, the federal homelessness czar under President George W. Bush, worked with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald to create this opportunity. Mangano said:

‘Nobody else is doing this around the country. There are business people involved [in homeless housing] but not to this scale.’

Volunteers of America President Bob Pratt said:

‘What I like about the project is it’s immediate. Making these homes available for vets right now, that makes it unique.’

This project will turn blight into stability for those who served honorably.

Featured Image: Elvert Barnes via Flickr, Creative Commons License.

H/T: LA Times.