The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been accused of misusing land that was allegedly donated more than a century ago to be used for housing Veterans who need care after suffering traumatic experiences while in the service.
A feature on the Navy Times shared that a lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, as well as other public interest lawyers, on behalf of disabled and homeless Veterans. The suit claims that the VA misused a 390-acre land in the Los Angeles area, which was meant to be used for facilities that would provide housing for Veterans; instead, the VA has opted to lease much of the property to private entities.
At a press conference announcing the lawsuit, ACLU lawyer Mark Rosenbaum said: “We bring suit today to provide these veterans the permanent supportive housing they must have in order to access the medical and psychiatric services to which they are lawfully entitled… The VA could quite literally end veteran homelessness in Los Angeles if this land were used as it was intended.”
The Navy Times shared that in 2010, there were an estimated 7,000 homeless Veterans in the Los Angeles area. Based on the most recent tally of the VA, this number roughly constitutes ten percent of the total population of homeless Veterans in the country, pegged at 71,609.
The lawsuit names four plaintiffs; the lead plaintiff is Greg Valentini, a 33-year-old native of Southern California, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Valentini came home from deployment suffering from PTSD, which resulted in illegal drug use. He became homeless after he was forced out of his family’s home due to his drug use.