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ACLU faults VA plan for homeless vets

LOS ANGELES — Civil rights lawyers criticized a plan adopted Wednesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs for a sprawling Los Angeles campus at the center of a lawsuit claiming the agency was failing to house homeless vets on the property as intended.

The West Los Angeles VA Medical Center master plan does not include any commitment to care for vets who need permanent homes after traumatic wartime experiences, said Mark Rosenbaum, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California.

While the VA announced Tuesday that its plan would call for the renovation of three buildings for homeless vets, the actual document released a day later identified those buildings as only being candidates for potential renovation, Rosenbaum said.

VA spokesman Joshua Taylor said the renovations were termed as "potential" because they require approval and funding from Congress. "Our process is complete in terms of proposing the plan and making the recommendation to Congress," he said.

Homeless veterans claimed in a federal lawsuit filed June 8 that the VA had misused the 387-acre plot, donated in 1888 by private owners to house veterans. It accused the department of breach of fiduciary duty for leasing much of the property to private entities instead of using it for veteran housing.

Homeless vets

71,609 Number of homeless vets nationwide, according to the VA's most recent tally.

7,000 Number of homeless veterans in the Los Angeles area in 2010.

ACLU faults VA plan for homeless vets 06/22/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:10pm]
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