Homeless Suit Against VA Will Proceed

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Homeless veterans outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) West Los Angeles medical campus will have their day in court, according to a decision by Judge Otero.

The ACLU has filed a suit on behalf of disabled and homeless veterans to stop the VA from renting VA land to corporations rather than use the facilities to house the homeless. Over one-third of the 387-acre campus is currently used for purposes other than aiding veterans.

The land in question was donated by the late senator John P. Jones and Arcadia B. de Baker in 1888. The purpose of the donation was to develop permanent housing for displaced veterans. Instead of using the land for the stated purpose, the VA decided to lease the property for commercial purposes in the 1970’s.

Homelessness is a particularly acute problem for veterans who are 50 percent more likely than other people groups to end up homeless. This means one out of every six homeless Americans is a veteran.

According to attorney Ron Olson, “It shames each of us as a society that our government allows those who fought for their country to sleep on the streets while it leases the property deeded for their care to businesses and recreation.”

Instead of doing the right thing by honoring the intent of the deeded property, the VA attempted to dismiss the claim. The attempt was denied.

Meanwhile on the East Coast, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, with rocker Jon Bon Jovi, announced new plans to help the homeless everywhere else in the country using technology.

In a counterintuitive move, VA has looked to web and smartphone apps to help provide access to mobile resources for homeless veterans. The VA has asked the development community to create a national platform that will unify services, such as clinics and food kitchens.

Lately, the VA has been turning to IT for fixes to everything from the disability claims backlog to now veteran homelessness. Underneath the hood of such projects lies many billions of taxpayer dollars in the form of government contracts.

While stimulating the economy is good, I for one would like to see the VA make smart and fair choices from the onset. For example, let’s use the property donated to help homeless veterans to create housing for those same homeless veterans. Just a thought.

This may make me a maverick, but at some point common sense solutions must prevail.

 

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4 Comments

  1. I hope all Veterans realize that Sen. John McCain has overtly turned his back to Veteran’s Issues and only espouses said support when it’s re-election time. The ACLU should not have been even needed to correct and address this criminal corporate act. Our Representatives, esp. our VETERAN Reps/Sen.’s should have the human compassion to have done so already! I mention Sen. McCain but there’s other Veteran Politicians as well; McCain is mentioned because he now is one of the bulls pushing for increased VA copays and reduced benefits and giving Veterans a 401K plan rather than promised benefits. His audacity is oxymoronic because: a) he collects VA Disability/Retirement pension, b) he ALSO rec’vs. Congressional Salary, c) he has full healthcare from his choice of the VA or Congressional Healthcare Benefits, and d) he married-well, into Budweiser wealth, which may also cloud his priorities. My question is in all due respect of his service to our Country as a decorated POW Veteran: Should he even be allowed to “double-dip”, while turning his loyalty toward Corporate America and not the VERY Veterans that maintain our freedoms in this great USA?! Lastly, we absolutely NEED to collectively, as Veterans, let alone all USA citizens, hold ALL these so-called Representatives “By the people, FOR the people” accountable at EVERY election; but ALSO between elections, collectively call them OUT on catering to Corporations rather than Veteran Issues! Forgive my rant but if I may boldly suggest that we have a Veteran Majority sitting on ANY committee regarding Veteran’s Issues so that we are in-kind actually represented by our very peers that *understand* the unique plight we have in a system that the DOD has no problem spending BILLIONS to fund formerly known as “Blackwater”, a private, corporate military force! Want to make some cuts that are responsible? Start with the “War Profiteers” and all other Corporate Contracts the DOD has, esp. Haliburton; then use THAT stash of cash to do right by the contracts we ALL signed and make good on THAT promise!!

  2. I remember when McCain was running in 2008 and his campaign people hushed up any vets trying to tell about his voting record on vet affairs ‘ I think therte is something mentally wrong with the man, stemming from his time as a POW ! Perhaps he’s mad at all vets because he was captured and we didn’t rescue him. In any case I agree that the land should be used for helping those homeless vets ! Been there done that ! thanks for another fine artical Ben ! I’m still trying to follow the Money to find out the truth behind all this tech stuff the V A is trying to force feed us ! Semper Fi ! Kc

  3. I have been waiting for over a year for the VA to finish my claim for un-employability. I am 80% now and meet all the criteria. Over the last year my wife has left they are going to foreclose on my house next month. I am 50 years old and will become homeless June or July 2012. I know that I am not alone the VA creates homeless vets and wonders why there are so many. I know my fate and am just trying to prepare myself. I was told by the DAV rep. when I become homeless I should get a letter from the shelter and then they would request that the VA accelerate my claim. So I need to become homeless for the VA to do their job more efficiently? What a well oiled machine.

  4. Great article Ben!!! It’s really sad that the VA does this to homeless vets. It’s even more sad when they tell a vet to get a note from the shelter to speed up their claim! How moronic is that??? They should help the vet keep his home!

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