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Groundbreaking on project benefiting homeless veterans

Facility would serve Los Angeles area vets

Posted: January 23, 2013 10:30 a.m.
Updated: January 23, 2013 10:30 a.m.

LOS ANGELES - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hosts a groundbreaking ceremony for Building 209 at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System’s West Los Angeles Medical Center (WLA) campus on Jan. 25 at 1:00 p.m. Once renovation is completed, Building 209 will serve as a therapeutic and supportive residence for chronically homeless Veterans. VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Robert A. Petzel, scheduled to deliver key note address.

“This project builds on VA’s progress toward ending Veteran homelessness locally and across the country,” said VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System’s Director, Donna M. Beiter, RN, MSN. “The West LA campus is a sacred place for Veterans to heal, and VA is committed to ensuring Veterans receive the care and benefits they have earned.”

As a therapeutic residence for chronically homeless Veterans, Building 209 primarily serves patients whose combination of chronic mental health or other medical needs necessitate residential treatment and for whom previous recovery attempts have failed.

“We want to continue finding innovative ways using patient-centered care principles to help Veterans who are homeless,” said Bill Daniels, Chief of Mental Health at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. “The goal of our ‘no wrong door’ approach is to provide options for Veterans to transition into independent and permanent housing within the community of their choosing.”

The 51,500 square feet renovation project will modernize 55 residential units using a mix of single and double occupancy units. The three-story building is designed to include a secure reception area, a library, a multipurpose room that may host yoga, tai chi, and healthy living classes, a kitchen where Veterans can learn to cook, and an internet café. The renovation also includes a wing designated for female Veterans undergoing treatment which can be expanded as needed.

Under the leadership of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, VA put an aggressive plan into place in 2009 to end homelessness among Veterans in 2015.

“Even one Veteran living on the street is too many,” said Beiter. “We continue to make great strides toward the goal of ending homelessness among our Nation’s heroes.”

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