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VA looking for developer to reboot large West LA campus to house homeless vets

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The almost 400-acre campus has been in line for a total rehabilitation for years

The VA’s West Los Angeles Medical Center.
Veterans Health/Creative Commons

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to lease its sprawling West LA campus to a single developer to build about 900 units of supportive housing for homeless vets, reports KPCC.

The VA put out a call for developers via a public hearing notice posted on Friday. The notice says the first renovation project on the docket will be Building 207, which formerly housed a Salvation Army program.

Heidi Marston, director of community engagement and reintegration with the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, tells KPCC that one principal developer could “get work done faster than the federal government could and also more efficiently.”

It’s the first sign of forward movement on this project, which has progressed slowly. The idea of the campus feeling like and functioning as a lively neighborhood has been floating around since 2015, when a draft master plan for the site featuring housing; legal, employment, and general health services; and wheelchair-accessible recreation areas was released.

The plan was released under a settlement with group of veterans who accused the department of improperly using the land. For decades, many of the buildings on the campus were leased out for commercial uses—not to house or help veterans.

While work toward building a new VA is in progress, the department tells KPCC it’s looking into a slew of temporary alternatives for housing veterans, including using “temporary structures like industrial tents and safe parking programs to get veterans off the streets faster.”

A public hearing for the project is set for April 26 at the West LA Medical Center.