VA Plans Haven For Homeless Vets In West LA

August 16, 2018
VA Plans Haven For Homeless Vets In West Los Angeles In June of 2017, 54 veterans experiencing homelessness moved into Building 209 at the West LA VA Campus. “I look at it this way: it was God-given to me,” William Williamson, a Building 209 resident says, “and I bless Him…

VA Plans Haven For Homeless Vets In West Los Angeles

In June of 2017, 54 veterans experiencing homelessness moved into Building 209 at the West LA VA Campus.

William Williamson — Ina Jaffe/NPR

“I look at it this way: it was God-given to me,” William Williamson, a Building 209 resident says, “and I bless Him and the people here at the building every day I wake up.”

Williamson was a jet mechanic on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. After leaving the Navy, he spent time in prison and eventually lost his permanent housing three years ago due to a roommate dispute. He couch surfed, went to shelters, and then the street. It was “eye-opening,” Williamson says. It was especially scary at night, “when you try to find a place to sleep, ’cause you never know what’s going to happen.”

Social services provided by Step Up at Building 209 help Williamson with everything from military benefits to counseling. He also now lives close to all his doctors at the VA Medical Center who help him with his asthma, heart problems, and nerve damage in both legs.

The goal is to expand housing opportunities on the VA Campus to serve at least 1,200 chronically homeless veterans. “This is a moral imperative,” Megan Flanz, who is in charge of the project, says. “There are veterans who need housing. We’ve got the space to house them. The property was deeded to us to house them. So we will get this done.”

“Most people want to live in a neighborhood where other people are, but right now, for the first tenants, there’s no other housing on the campus,” which can make them feel isolated, Step Up president & CEO Tod Lipka says. Two empty buildings next to 209 are about to be converted to housing. In addition to housing, the VA Campus hopes to foster community and provide places for residents to socialize and connect with one another, get job training, and get involved with the arts.

Tod Lipka — Ina Jaffe/NPR

Read the full piece by Ina Jaffe on NPR

 

Related Posts

COMMUNITY PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: VILLAGE FOR VETS 

COMMUNITY PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: VILLAGE FOR VETS 

Step Up community partner Village for Vets is a dedicated nonprofit organization that fills gaps in critical services for homeless and at-risk veterans in greater Los Angeles. The non-profit offers four types of services to veterans: meals, emergency financial assistance, social support and basic needs.

read more
PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: SPECIALTY FAMILY FOUNDATION

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: SPECIALTY FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Specialty Family Foundation has been a generous supporter of Step Up since 2010. We interviewed the Specialty Family Foundation’s Grants Manager, Tiann Ortiz, about the homeless epidemic, the grant process, and community collaboration.

read more
VETERAN SPOTLIGHT: ALBERTO

VETERAN SPOTLIGHT: ALBERTO

Four years ago, Step Up interviewed Step Up Member Alberto and his Service Coordinator. We caught up with Alberto last month about his journey with homelessness, mental health, and how he’s doing now. 

read more

Donate Today

You have the power to make a difference.

Imagine a world where everyone has a home, a job, and a supportive community. 100% of your donation will go towards connecting people to the help they need and deserve.

$25

Provides one hour of work force development training to a Step Up member.

Provides one home visit from a psychiatrist or nurse for medication support.

Provides a Welcome Home Kit to furnish and outfit an apartment for a member.

Pin It on Pinterest