Unhoused veterans relocated in West LA homeless encampment cleanup

Dozens of remaining unhoused residents living near the Veteran Affairs campus in West Los Angeles were relocated Monday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, along with the Public Works Department starting clearing the encampment at 8 a.m.  

Most of the estimated 40 or so remaining homeless along what is known as "Veterans Row" on San Vicente Blvd will be moved into tents onto the VA grounds.

Others like Vietnam veteran Robert Ferguson are off to a temporary motel stay after camping on the sidewalk for years.

"I have my voucher for a Motel 6 near LAX on Century Blvd," said Ferguson.

Robert Reynolds, a veteran advocate with AMVETS, knows what it’s like to be in Ferguson’s shoes.

"I had no intention of being a homeless veteran. I showed up here services and was put into a position where I ended up on the street because they didn’t want to let me in with a service animal," said Reynolds.  "A lot of these guys are going through the same thing and end up on the street. This is unacceptable and needs to change," he said.

AMVETS has worked for months to get private donations for tents on the VA property.

The encampment stretching along San Vicente Boulevard near Goshen Avenue has been a focal point for the unhoused residents in the area with the COVID-19 pandemic and the cut in services during that time playing a major role in its growth.

Safety has also been a concern at the encampment which has been the site of two homicides in six months.

"We have about 9 deaths that we know of that have happened here including drug overdoses and two murders," said Brentwood resident and Army Veteran Bob Rosebrock, who supports relocating the homeless onto the VA grounds.

Officials with the Department of Veteran Affairs say the cleanup effort near its West Los Angeles office is the first step in a larger goal of housing more than 500 homeless veterans by the end of the year. 

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