Santa Monica City Councilmember Bobby Shriver advocated the guarantee of use of VA property in West Los Angeles for the health and housing needs of veterans at a forum convened by Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Venice) and featuring Congressman Bob Filner (D-San Diego) on Monday, April 2, at a West LA community center.
Rep. Filner, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said that he would urge the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, James Nicholson, to designate buildings at the West LA VA facility to treat and house homeless veterans, rather than to consider the option, feared by some, of turning over the buildings to private companies for development. If the VA does not commit to his request, he said he would draft legislation to require it.
Shriver, along with Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (whose district abuts the VA property and who also attended), have been urging that the facilities be dedicated for homeless veterans, who constitute a substantial portion of the Santa Monica and regional homeless population.
Veterans spanning generations from World War II to Iraq were present at the Felicia Mahood Senior Center on Santa Monica Boulevard for the gathering. Shriver credited Rep. Harman for bringing Rep. Filner – “it was important for [him] to see [the VA property],” Shriver said, and he thought the Congressman “will be very influential” in protecting the property for veterans’ welfare.