Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Henry A. Waxman (both D-Calif.) sent a letter to Acting Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Jeffery Zeints urging the president to include funding to fully renovate two West LA VA buildings to house some of Los Angeles' sizable homeless veteran population.
"As representatives for the Los Angeles community and strong supporters of the President's goal, we ask that the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget include a request for authorization and funding to fully renovate these buildings so that they can quickly become safe and effective supportive housing for the thousands of homeless veterans in Greater Los Angeles," Feinstein and Waxman wrote. "The magnitude of the situation demands no less."
Full text of the letter follows:
February 13, 2013
Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Director Zeints:
We write to urge your continued support for homeless veteran programs in the Greater Los Angeles region. Los Angeles is home to the largest population of homeless veterans in the nation, and we ask that you prioritize the renovation of Buildings 205 and 208 on the West LA VA campus in the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget to address this unwelcome distinction.
The situation in Los Angeles demands immediate attention. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Homeless Count in 2011, the most recent survey that accounts for homeless veterans living in shelters and on the streets, there are 8,131 homeless veterans in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Put in context, this statistic is shocking: 1 in 10 homeless veterans reside in Los Angeles.
As you know, the President and Secretary Shinseki have committed to eliminating veteran homelessness by 2015. To meet the President's goal, the Secretary committed to renovate Buildings 205 and 208 on the West LA campus to house homeless veterans and provide support services. These buildings are currently slated to be seismically corrected as part of the VA's "Seismic Correction of Eleven Buildings" Major Construction Project, but future funding will be required for the renovations necessary to turn these buildings into effective housing and treatment centers. We are disappointed that the Administration has neither requested authorization nor funding for these critical projects.
As representatives for the Los Angeles community and strong supporters of the President's goal, we ask that the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget include a request for authorization and funding to fully renovate these buildings so that they can quickly become safe and effective supportive housing for the thousands of homeless veterans in Greater Los Angeles. The magnitude of the situation demands no less.
Thank you for your consideration of our request. We look forward to working with you to address this unacceptable situation.
United States Senator
Henry A. Waxman
Member of Congress