With new leadership at the Veterans Administration comes the opportunity to transform the West Los Angeles VA into a welcoming 21st century campus for veterans and their families. UCLA is committed to strengthening and enhancing its 70 year relationship with the VA by providing services and programs for veterans in mental and physical health, law, adaptive recreation and other areas.
The master plan for the West LA VA campus has been released, and a 45-day period for public comments is now underway. We encourage you to submit comments supporting UCLA’s presence on the campus by following the comment submission directions found on the Federal Register website.
Representatives from UCLA, former plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against the VA, and the VA administration have begun meeting in a series of working groups to develop a series of proposals to enhance UCLA’s veterans-related programs and activities on the WLA VA campus.
There are seven major working groups with representation from each of the partner organizations – UCLA, the VA and plaintiffs – with the following goals:
• Establishing a Veterans and Family Resource Center jointly run by UCLA and the VA;
• Enhancing programs and staffing for specialty care, traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma and addiction issues;
• Adding training / fellowship programs relevant to the problems of the homeless;
• Designing and initiating recreational activities, adaptive recreation programs and competitive sports, especially in and around Jackie Robinson Stadium;
• Adding to the legal clinic programs in the UCLA Law School serving veterans using clinical law faculty, law students, and working with pro bono lawyers to provide legal services;
• Developing a process for and determining fair market rent for Jackie Robinson Stadium.
• Planning for how UCLA can draw on its experts and specialists to provide advice for the revitalization of the West LA VA campus.
Additionally, UCLA and the VA are exploring the development of innovative UCLA/VA partnership programs in research, entrepreneurship and advanced technology training. We intend to have a public rollout of the agreement in January.
Also, Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and Congressman Lieu have a bill before Congress — the Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015 — that permits limited, restricted leases to parties serving veterans at the West Los Angeles VA site.
The legislation will enable local and state governments and community partners to address the pressing need for long-term supportive housing and contribute additional services for our nation’s most vulnerable veterans, while also prohibiting the VA from selling property for private development or leasing to parties that do not serve veterans. The bill will allow the VA to expand its decades-long relationship with UCLA, a partner that already provides a broad range of services to veterans on the campus and has pledged to draw on its wide range of multidisciplinary experts to increase those services significantly. A provision in the legislation allows UCLA to continue to maintain and use Jackie Robinson Stadium once a satisfactory agreement is reached regarding services provided by the university on the VA campus that principally benefit veterans and their families. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will be considering the legislation soon.
In addition to commenting on the draft, please email Senator Dianne Feinstein today and express your appreciation and support for the inclusion of UCLA in the Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015. The legislation encourages local and state governments and community partners to provide services for our nation’s most vulnerable veterans, while prohibiting the VA from selling property for private development or leasing to parties that do not serve veterans.