The ACLU of Southern California sent a letter to Secretary Eric Shinseki, head of the Department of Veterans Affairs Department, the United States Department of Justice, and Kamala Harris, the new California Attorney General, calling for an investigation into the use of VA land located in West Los Angeles. The VA has allowed portions of those lands to be leased to a private school for use as tennis courts and other portions of VA property to be leased for use as theaters instead of housing our homeless veterans, who are in desperate need of housing.
By not providing shelter to our homeless veterans, the VA is in violation of an 1888 deed of land to the United States, which guarantees a home to veterans who need it. The ACLU/SC believes providing permanent supportive housing is the most effective way to ending the chronic homelessness that plagues Los Angeles County, which has been called the homelessness capital of the United States.
There are approximately 42,694 homeless people in Los Angeles County and approximately 15 percent or 6,540 are homeless veterans. The ACLU/SC believes that requiring the VA to abide by the terms of the 1888 deed could be an important component in ending homelessness for veterans in the Los Angeles area.