The Department of Veterans Affairs, which is the subject of a class- action lawsuit filed this month alleging that its failure to provide housing to veterans suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental disorders leaves many of them facing homelessness, has filed its master plan for modernizing the West Los Angeles campus, which is at the center of the dispute.
“This Master Plan builds on VA’s progress to end veteran homelessness and ensures that land use at West Los Angeles will continue to put the needs of Veterans first — now and into the future,” Donna M. Beiter, director of the VA’s Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, said in a statement.
Mark Rosenbaum, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union representing homeless veterans in the lawsuit, said the master plan makes no advances from a draft plan filed in January, which he criticized as inadequate. “There’s nothing in this,” he said Wednesday. “It’s a commitment to no commitment.”
The lawsuit, filed June 8 in U.S. District Court in California, asks a federal judge to order the VA to use empty buildings on the sprawling West Los Angeles campus to provide permanent supportive housing for a class of veterans who suffer from conditions that the plaintiffs argue require a stable home environment for successful treatment.
The VA estimates that on any given night, some 76,500 veterans in America are homeless. VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has pledged to end “the shame of veterans’ homelessness” by 2015.
“Though much work remains, VA has made significant progress to reduce homelessness over the past two years under his leadership,” Beiter said.