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VA Breaks Ground On Building That Will House Homeless Vets

Miguel Arreola |
January 27, 2013 | 5:46 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Building 209.  (Miguel Arreola / Neon Tommy)
Building 209. (Miguel Arreola / Neon Tommy)

“The rain always makes me think of the homeless,” started City Council member Bill Rosendahl. “When it rains, where do you go if you are homeless?”

Friday’s ground breaking ceremony for the VA Healthcare center’s Building 209 was intended to celebrate the city’s progress in the sheltering of homeless veterans. The building would house approximately 65 veterans and would provide training for daily life skills, help obtain and maintain employment and help them meet their life goals. 

Currently, there are 6,000-8,000 chronically homeless veterans on the streets of Los Angeles, but according to Bob Rosebrock, the head of the Veterans Revolution, these numbers are deceiving.

“The number 20,000 is reported as more accurately identifying all homeless Veterans in Los Angeles, and the 6,000 - 8,000 number represents those who are chronically homeless,” reported Rosebrock via email.

Rosebrock remains unenthusiastic about the renovation to Building 209. He concocted an alternate plan to more efficiently shelter and rehabilitate veterans. The plan, the “State-of-Emergency” Homeless Veteran Relief Project, has been sent to President Obama and Congressman Henry Waxman. Both have yet to respond.

“Instead of the VA spending $20 million to rehab one vacant building that will only provide shelter for 55 homeless Veterans 18 months from now, we need to be looking at a ‘State-of-Emergency’ Homeless Veteran Humanitarian Relief Project that will provide immediate shelter for hundreds, if not thousands of homeless Veterans today.  It will be far more effective and efficient and much cheaper than rehabbing one building.”

Despite Rosebrock’s efforts, he, accompanied by about one hundred other individuals, watched as the speakers broke ground on Building 209.

Rosebrock expressed disapproval for Friday's ceremony. "[Friday] was really an embarrassment," he started. "This issue affects the future of your generation of men and women who pledged their lives to defend our freedom and democracy.  

"Today, 47 percent of all homeless Veterans are from the Vietnam War that ended nearly 38 years ago. We cannot allow what happened to my generation of Veterans, happen to yours."

He concluded his statement by stating, “Remember, ‘Today’s troops are tomorrow’s veterans.’”


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of veterans here.

Reach staff reporter Miguel Arreola here.



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