Veteran homelessness is a stain on the American Flag and Los Angeles is its epicenter. In the latest survey, there were nearly 4,000 Veterans and many more family members homeless on the streets of Los Angeles on any given night. Since 2018, Century Housing and its partners at The Veterans Collective have been planning and developing a large-scale solution on the historic grounds of the West Los Angeles VA Campus on approximately 70 acres north of Wilshire Boulevard.
The sounds of progress on the campus are hard to ignore as Building 207, the first of the Principal Developer Team buildings to open, will complete construction and start lease up by the end of 2022. Developed principally by Thomas Safran & Associates, with services provided by U.S.VETS, Building 207 is a supportive housing community for 59 senior Veterans with 26 units reserved for formerly and chronically homeless Veterans ages 62 and older. All resident will have access to case management and wellness activities.
Thanks to funding commitments from the Los Angeles County Development Authority and the State of California’s VHHP program, Century hopes to break ground on its first project, Building 404, a new construction 73-unit permanent supportive housing development for Veterans, in late 2022. Right behind Building 404, Century expects to start construction on the adaptive reuse of Buildings 156 & 157 into 112 permanent supportive housing units in the spring of 2023.
Veterans at increased risk of homelessness such as senior Veterans, women Veterans, LGBTQ Veterans, Veteran families, single-parent Veteran families, Iraq/Afghanistan era Veterans, chronically homeless Veterans, disabled Veterans, and Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma and other injured Veterans will received specialized care. Working with the VA and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), community needs will be reviewed yearly and services will be adjusted accordingly.
When completed, this will be the country’s largest supportive housing community for homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families and will include service-enriched housing, access to quality recovery and wellness programs, job placement services, enterprise opportunities, community resources, and more. Our mission as The Principal Development Team is to ensure that this plan translates to a vibrant neighborhood that promotes opportunity, wellness, and a feeling of belonging.
This redevelopment is personal to all of us but especially to two of the Collective’s own U.S. Military Veterans: Century’s President and CEO Ron Griffith, recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge and Purple Heart, and Stephen Peck, CEO of U.S.VETS and recipient of the Navy Commendation Medal. The work of Century and U.S.VETS at the West Los Angeles VA benefits from a 25-year partnership at the Villages at Cabrillo in Long Beach, a 27-acre supportive housing community with more than 1,500 residents, including approximately 700 Veterans.
Although he is no longer with us, it is important we remember the lasting impact that Judge Harry Pregerson had in establishing Century Housing and guiding its mission. By converting the Century Freeway Housing Program into Century Housing, Judge Pregerson ensured that surplus funding from that initial freeway project would be used to provide affordable housing in perpetuity. Judge Pregerson, a WWII Veteran who was wounded at Okinawa, is also responsible for the creation of U.S.VETS, a nonprofit with a mission to end veteran homelessness in the United States.
The campaign to expedite Veteran housing
Recognizing the current budget surplus, The Veterans Collective recently launched a new and multi-faceted campaign aimed at garnering $75 million from the state to further expedite the development of more than 500 units of supportive housing.
Appreciating the previous investment of $20 million in last year’s state budget, our Principal Developer Team is actively engaged with Governor Newsom, the state legislature, community stakeholders, the press, and the public to raise awareness about this important project and explain how the additional funding will accelerate housing production, support crucial transportation infrastructure improvements, and help build amenities.
If you care about homelessness, there may never be a better opportunity to help! The Veterans Collective has initiated a plan that will make the West LA VA the largest Veteran facility in the nation, but there is much more we can do to improve this extraordinary campus:
Stay connected and help build support by visiting the West LA Veterans Collective