Letters to the Editor: Why won't the federal government just pay to build veterans housing?

·2 min read
WEST LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Flowers have been left in a wheelchair in memory of a recent stabbing victim in a homeless encampment outside the West L.A. Veterans Affairs facilities on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. The encampment is on San Vicente Boulevard in an unincorporated area near Brentwood in West Los Angeles, CA. Dozens of veterans live at the encampment, sometimes called Veterans Row, where some tents are decorated with U.S. flags. Recently a homeless veteran had been stapped to death here. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Flowers are left in a wheelchair in memory of a recent stabbing victim at an encampment for homeless veterans in Westwood. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Your editorial's description of the complicated process of funding and building housing for veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs campus in Westwood is accurate.

I served on the Community Veterans Engagement Board for two years and was shocked to learn that the federal government does not pay to construct housing for veterans. Hence, developers must cobble together grants and loans.

This is what is unacceptable. That is why it will take another decade to build 1,200 units of housing.

Putting the burden of housing people who served in the military on the private sector is an abdication of the federal government's responsibility to care for our homeless veterans.

Kathleen Flanagan, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Driving past the west side of the VA campus on Sepulveda Boulevard and seeing the beautiful, serene and pristine cemetery where our late veterans are laid to rest never fails to be an emotional and humbling experience.

If only those vets still living could be treated with the same care, regard and respect.

Babette Wilk, Valley Village

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To the editor: The memorial to the stabbing victim at the Veterans Row encampment in Westwood is in no way "makeshift," as your photo caption in the print edition said.

The wheelchair laden with the American flag and flowers is a humble reminder to us all of the pathetic situation so many of our vets find themselves. Is it makeshift because it isn't carved in marble?

Referring to it as makeshift demeans the gesture of remembrance. It's a memorial, plain, simple and powerful.

Vicki Kipper, Los Angeles

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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