By Gale Holland
12:23 AM EDT, August 2, 2013
Vacant beds at the Veterans Administration campus in West Los Angeles will be filled by homeless vets on state waiting lists for nursing home care, authorities said Thursday.
The arrangement is part of stepped-up federal assistance, including expanded rental housing vouchers and medical outreach teams, that the Veterans Administration is promising the 6,000 veterans who live on the streets of Los Angeles County.
The joint announcement from California's senior senator, Democrat Diane Feinstein; Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills); and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky did not name a dollar figure or funding source.
According to a 2013 count, the number of homeless veterans in the county has dropped 6% since 2011, while the overall homeless figure climbed 16% to 58,000. Officials attributed the drop in homeless veterans to federal funding flowing to them in a rare show of bipartisanship by Congress.
The Veterans Administration also pledged to set up a one-stop service center and to seek private funding partners to renovate buildings 205 and 208 on the West L.A. campus. Project 50, a program that establishes housing and mental health and medical services for the most vulnerable homeless people, will also be expanded.
The beds in the State Veterans Home will be used for those on waiting lists until state funding comes through to move them into regular nursing home care.
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