A new West Los Angeles Veterans Home that will house nearly 400 veterans broke ground on Friday morning, July 6; this undertaking, together with the Lancaster and Ventura Veterans’ Homes from the Greater Los Angeles Ventura Counties project, will be the largest state veterans’ home project in the nation.
The project has special significance for Santa Monica for at least two reasons: first, a disproportionate number of homeless persons in Santa Monica and elsewhere are veterans; and second, such new construction on the VA property at least suggests a commitment to veteran-oriented uses of land that some fear might be given over to private commercial or residential development aggravating Westside traffic gridlock.
Gov. Schwarzenegger joined U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson and California Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Tom Johnson for the July 6 groundbreaking ceremony. “When this home is finished in 2010, it will house nearly 400 veterans and will include space for skilled nursing care and also for Alzheimer’s patients,” said the governor. “Together with [the Lancaster and Ventura projects], there is the biggest investment in veterans homes in California’s history, totaling nearly $300 million of federal and state funds.”
Following on the spirit of the Independence Day celebrations just concluded, Schwarzenegger told the veterans, “You are why we are the greatest nation in the world. And you are why an immigrant like myself can come over here and be successful. You are a true inspiration to all of us. You are the true action heroes.”