The United States of America has a poor track record when it comes to taking care of the brave war veterans who risked their lives to secure its borders and security. Unfortunately, the city of Los Angeles does not fare any better with over 4,362 veterans living on its streets. This figure was discovered in a survey done in 2015 after the city promised to put an end to homeless veterans by the end of the year.
The findings of the survey forced the city to declare a state of emergency after discovering a large number of homeless veterans. Although the city was compelled to abandon its optimistic goal, the findings led to a new smart plan in 2016 that has significantly turned things around for the better.
The city came up with an ambitious plan to rehabilitate run-down hospitals and hotels scheduled for demolition and settle homeless veterans into the new apartments. The project was given a boost when Proposition 41 raised $600 million to fund it. The first phase of the project has turned over 500 apartments that are specifically reserved for homeless veterans.
Proposition 41 helps homeless veterans, veterans at risk of becoming homeless, and veterans struggling with unemployment and disabilities to access decent, affordable, and safe places to live. It also helps veterans access needed services like mental health, case management, job training, and substance use. It is working closely with California’s Coalition for Veterans Housing to end the state of veteran homelessness in the state.
Another non-profit organization, Step Up, has joined the project to help convert the old units into comfortable housing. Step Up provides vocational training, placement supportive services, and permanent supportive housing to the homeless people of California. It also helps people living with mental health issues.
The new apartments are scheduled to be opened by January 2017. What’s more, the veterans will live free of charge in the new apartments for 15 years, thanks to the Department of Veteran Affairs’ vouchers.
The city of Los Angeles hopes that the new apartments will eventually settle every homeless veteran who volunteered to protect the country by serving in the U.S. military. Thanks to the initiative, ultimately, veterans will have a place to call home when they are discharged from their service.
Already, by May 2016, around 1,200 veterans had been settled into new apartments. This reduced the number of homeless veterans in Los Angeles to 3,071. For those living on the streets, this kind of hope and lifeline makes an incredible difference. Thanks to Step Up and Preposition 41, the goal to end veteran homelessness in the city is finally becoming a reality.