For more than a year, the homeless encampment known as Veterans Row has been home to roughly 40 veterans. The row of 30-some large tents, which stretches along San Vicente Boulevard near Brentwood, grew during the COVID pandemic when the veterans who served in the Iraq, Vietnam, and Gulf wars were not able to access shelter.
But by Monday, the area—which is adjacent to the Veterans Affairs campus in West Los Angeles—will be cleared as officials move the veterans into housing. The move is part of a two-part initiative for the Department of Veterans Affairs to place more than 500 unhoused veterans living in L.A., Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said last month. He said the residents of Veterans Row would be housed by November.
Robert Reynolds, a veteran advocate with AMVETS and formerly homeless Iraq War veteran, attributes the department’s urgency to assist veterans with housing to McDonough’s recent visit to the encampment, media spotlight surrounding issues in the area, and two homicides that were connected to the site.
“It’s very frustrating that it’s taken this long,” Reynolds told the Los Angeles Times. “This whole thing is a disservice to the veterans and a disservice to the taxpaying community, because these guys are supposed to have benefits. This property is intended for them. They should be housed here. There’s no reason they should be all over the streets.”
Early on Monday morning, unhoused veterans were moving their belongings onto a large truck, which would later be placed into storage, KTLA reports.
By Thursday, 15 unhoused veterans had moved from Veterans Row onto the VA property and three others agreed to move by Monday, Reynolds told KTLA. Some of the veterans will be temporarily transferred behind an adjacent fence to another encampment, which is a government-run safe camping site on the VA’s campus where residents are given cots, towels, and other essential items.
“We set up new tents on the other side of the fence, the same ones that they have with American flags — so everyone’s got a location,” Reynolds told KTLA. “If they have any feelings about not going to the VA, we’re gonna get him a hotel voucher.”
A nonprofit known as U.S. Vets that aim to end veteran homelessness said that as of Monday they had found housing for 13 unhoused residents with some moving to supportive housing at their Inglewood site, KTLA reports.
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