-----Original Message-----
From: Daley, Trevor (Feinstein)
Sent: Fri, 9 May 2008 12:44 pm
Subject: West LA VA: Feinstein Calls for Action on West LA VA facility

Senator Feinstein Asks VA Secretary to Move on Long-Term Homeless Housing,
Master Plan for West Los Angeles VA Facility

-Also asks VA to consider housing for families of returning Iraq-Afghanistan vets-

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today asked James Peake, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to move forward with plans for long-term supportive housing for homeless veterans at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus.

In a letter to Secretary Peake, Senator Feinstein also asked the Department to report on progress on a master plan for the VA facility, and to also consider creating family housing there for families of returning veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Legislation by Senator Feinstein, to prohibit commercial development of the 388-acre West Los Angeles VA site, was signed into law by President Bush on December 26.

Following is the text of Senator Feinstein’s letter:

May 9, 2008

The Honorable James Peake
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Peake:

I write to follow up on three critical issues with regard to the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs site.

First, it appears that little progress has been made toward providing long-term supportive homeless housing at the campus. It has been three months since our January 31st meeting, and my office has received no indication on how the VA will proceed on this matter. I would appreciate an update from you on the VA’s efforts to move forward with the McKinney-Vento process.

Second, I would like an update on the progress made toward drafting and implementing a master plan for the campus. It is my understanding that both local and federal officials are investigating options for the site. Absent a master plan, this could result in a haphazard and confusing process for managing the campus. The Veterans Programs Enhancement Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-368) states that:

“The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to Congress a report on the master plan of the Department of Veterans Affairs relating to the use of Department lands at the West Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, California” and details what that report is to include.

Pursuant to P.L. 105-368, I urge you to move forward quickly and provide me with your timeline for doing so.

Third, as you consider options for future use of the site, I urge you to explore the possibility of developing supportive family housing for veterans returning from combat with multiple amputations, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. Family housing would give injured veterans and their families access to the services they need, as well as a supportive network with families facing similar challenges. I believe the Department should pursue family housing for returning veterans, and I believe the West Los Angeles VA is well suited for this need.

Thank you for your time. I hope we can work together to determine appropriate use of this great opportunity to provide services to veterans, and my staff and I are available to provide any assistance you may need.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator