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VA Releases Draft Master Plan to Revitalize West LA Campus

Check this page regularly for updates. Updated on Feb 05 2016

Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Campus
Draft Master Plan

Planning a Community for Veterans

Description Download Link Size
Executive Summary Download [1,616 KB]
I Introduction Download [583 KB]
II Housing and Service Needs Download [905 KB]
III Stakeholder Engagement Download [587 KB]
IV Existing Conditions and Site Analysis Download [3,893 KB]
V Master Plan Development Download [5,249 KB]
VI Phasing and Next Steps Download [1,005 KB]
Appendix A Building Conditions Download [1,570 KB]
Appendix B North Campus Civil Analysis Download [5,770 KB]
Appendix C Building Security Requirements and Controlled Access Download [200 KB]
Appendix D Historic Preservation Download [1,378 KB]
Appendix E Environmental Impact Final Download [87 KB]
Appendix F Stakeholder Engagement Download [296 KB]
Appendix F Stakeholder Engagement Attachment Download [69,325 KB]
Appendix G Existing Shuttle Schedule Download [242 KB]
Appendix H Possessory Use Agreements Download [276 KB]

VAGLAHS Draft Master Plan Executive Summary
January 28,2016

Q. What is the West Los Angeles VA Master Plan?

A. A master plan is a high-level planning process that uses community and stakeholder input to define what is important about a place and how its character, usage, and operations can be improved in the future. The WLA Master Plan describes how the physical elements of the campus can be improved, notably for healthcare delivery, housing, related Veteran services, recreational, therapeutic, healthcare, benefits, and memorial services for Veterans in the future. It will identify potential reuse options, development, and infrastructure improvements needed; ways to improve functionality of the campus amongst the designated zones, including through improved signage and pathways; and opportunities to enhance open space, all while preserving the historic nature and character of the campus.

Q. What improvements will be made to the West LA VA Campus?

A. The Master Plan recognizes and takes into account VA’s unequivocal priority to operate the Campus as a vibrant, welcoming, and sustainable community, where all Veterans – including homeless, severely disabled, women, and elderly Veterans will feel comfortable accessing, living, interacting, recreating, and socializing with one another, their families, VA personnel, and visitors.

VA’s intent is to revitalize the Campus into a vibrant community where all Veterans can receive healthcare, benefits, employment, and other supportive services, which they deserve and to which they are entitled. That vision includes efficient and dedicated functionality whereby Veterans visiting the campus will be able to experience a “gold standard” of care, support, convenience, and customer service, from VA’s health, benefits, and cemetery administrations.

The Master Plan describes how the physical elements of the campus can be developed for housing, therapeutic, recreational, and healthcare, benefits, and memorial services for Veterans in the future. The plan also identifies opportunities to enhance open space, confirms the goal to renovate and protect the historic nature of the campus, targets infrastructure improvements needed for the campus, sets stage for VA to receive additional public comment and feedback on the draft Master Plan, and sets the stage for VA to conduct necessary environmental and historic preservation due diligence.

Q. Will there be new buildings constructed?

A. Newly constructed permanent supportive housing on the campus is contingent upon VA obtaining the legislative authority S. 2013 and H.R. 3484 (known as the “Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015”) Once authorized, the vision for revitalizing the WLA campus includes significant and adequate levels of permanent supportive housing, “bridge” and transitional housing, with short term treatment services that can provide state-of-the-art primary care, mental health, and addiction services to Veterans -- particularly chronically homeless Veterans of greater Los Angeles, severely disabled, women, and aging Veterans. Such housing shall be structured based on state-of-the-art homelessness prevention and urban planning sciences, consistent with best practices and evidence-based approaches under the Housing First model. VA’s objective under that model is for Veterans to have an attractive choice to decide whether to pursue housing on or off the Campus, while noting permanent housing on the Campus is intended for the most needy, most vulnerable Veterans. The housing will be carefully planned within 4 designated zones on the campus. This will help ensure a safe, secure, logical, and dignified community environment, which will function effectively in coordination with the other care and services provided on the campus, and in the greater Los Angeles area community.

Permanent housing located on the campus will be intended to house the most needy, most vulnerable Veterans. The priority target populations will be chronically homeless Veterans, Veterans with mental health issues, Veterans with medical issues, female Veterans, elderly and frail Veterans, and Veteran families with children under 18-years old. The housing components incorporated in the Master Plan for these target populations include the following:

Q. What function does the West LA VA Campus currently serve?

A. The campus, located in the heart of Los Angeles, is comprised of approximately 388 acres, and is one of the largest medical center campuses in the VA system. It provides a full continuum of medical services to eligible Veterans and others, including state-of-the-art hospital and outpatient care, rehabilitation, residential care and long-term care services. It also serves as a center for medical research and education.

Q. How will the Master Plan address homelessness?

A. When finalized the Master Plan will play a major role in sustaining the goal of ending Veteran homelessness. The plan calls for housing to address the needs of the most vulnerable homeless Veterans while also enriching healthcare services especially mental health, addictions and trauma informed services The plan also calls for enriched services for female Veterans, families and aging. The plan also notes the need for vocational and legal services which are all needed to prevent homelessness in the future and to ensure improved quality of life for our Veteran

Q. What is VA doing to help homeless Veterans right now?

A. VA and the entire GLA community are dedicated to the mission of ending Veteran homelessness. Together VA and community are working with a sense of urgency and purpose to minimize the time a Veteran experiences homelessness and to ensure they don’t return to homelessness. To accomplish this

  • VA has expanded our capacity to care for homeless and at-risk of homeless Veterans.
    • We provided $30 million in additional funding for SSVF homeless prevention and rapid rehousing programs. Currently more than $40 million dollars is available to both prevent and end veteran homelessness
    • More than 800 HUD-VASH vouchers have been awarded for Greater Los Angeles in 2015, increasing the total to almost 6000 vouchers in GLA.
    • 325 new short term beds have been added to provide bridge or emergency housing on and off the VA medical campus.
  • Approximately 1600 LA area Veterans have been placed into permanent housing since March 2015. On average, almost 280 Veterans are placed into housing per month through VA funded programs.
  • VA has contracted with professional entities to expand homeless outreach and improve housing placement/landlord relations. VA intensified case management services for HUD-VASH –these supports will provide direct individualized assist to homeless Veterans in finding and maintain permanent housing while also assisting with access to healthcare, employment and other services to assist the Veteran
Q. Who developed the Master Plan?

A. To assist VA with the task of drafting the Master Plan, VA contracted with an urban planning team comprised of Hellmuth, Obata, Kassabaum Inc. (HOK), Walsh Group, and Core Companies. The team was vital to soliciting, receiving, and incorporating stakeholder and public feedback into the draft master plan and helping VA meet its aggressive timeline. VA also engaged the services of Jones Lang LaSalle to assist VA in this important initiative. Neither the VA nor the community can end Veteran homelessness alone. The HOK team worked with stakeholders and the community to set goals, identify options, and options intended to help VA revitalize and restore the WLA campus in a way that will focus on Veterans and their families.

During the process of completing the draft Master Plan, comprehensive outreach was conducted in the greater Los Angeles are, to solicit and receive feedback, comments, and input from pertinent stakeholders including Veterans, Veteran Service Organizations, congressional delegates, State, City, County, non-profit and community stakeholders, and philanthropic representatives. The team provided multiple avenues for stakeholder participation, including an interactive website, monthly town hall meetings, weekly design open house workshops, user group meetings with VA programs, online and print questionnaires, presentations at neighborhood community council meetings, social media engagement, “pop-up” booths at community events, and focus group meetings with government stakeholders, housing providers and Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs). HoK, VA, VSOs, and Vets Advocacy, Inc. also collaborated with Veteran and community stakeholder groups, to assist with “peer-to-peer” engagement by reaching out and collecting survey data from populations with limited access to provide feedback. By hosting and participating in events on the WLA campus, and across the greater Los Angeles area, the team was able to collect a wide range of comments and feedback for the draft Master Plan.

Over a four month outreach period, the team built a stakeholder database of 2,165 email and mailing addresses. To date, the draft Master Plan website has received 12,085 page views and generated 145,827 unique activities including posts, like ads, mentions, and check-ins. By coordinating with each other and stakeholders including Veterans, VSOs, and community partners, the team accumulated over 1,200 survey responses. VA and its partners also hosted and/or participated in over 40 community events to generate input for the draft Master Plan.

Q. What are the future milestones for the ongoing master planning process?

A. The next steps in the process are as follows:

  1. Week of 10/19/2015 - VA posts the preliminary draft of the Master Plan into the Federal Register.
  2. Starting the week of 10/26/2015 - VA will conduct community meetings and focus groups.
  3. Saturday, 12/5/2015 - 45 day Federal Register public comment period ends.
  4. Week of 12/7/2015 – Week of 1/11/2016 - VA will review the public comments and feedback received, with the goal of posting responses via a Second Notice into the Federal Register at the end of that process.
  5. Week of 1/25/2016 - VA finalizes the Draft Final Master Plan.
  6. Week of 2/8/2016 - VA begins environmental and historic preservation due diligence for the Draft Final Master Plan – with ultimate goal of achieving a Final Master Plan for the WLA Campus.
  7. To be determined – VA undertakes the environmental and historic preservation due diligence (e.g., the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq .; and the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 470, et seq . and all other requirements), and adopts a Final Master Plan. Once adopted, the Final Master Plan will serve as the blue print for VA to implement steps necessary to revitalize the WLA Campus via resources including congressional appropriations; gifts and donations (including an “1887 fund” being established for restoring historic properties on campus; and public-private partnerships (e.g., supportive housing Enhanced-Use Leases), subject to enactment of pertinent congressional legislation, the availability of various other funding sources such as tax credits, and State and local funding (e.g., California Proposition 41 funding under the California Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act).
Q. How can the community give input to the Preliminary Draft Master Plan?
  • A. During the week of 10/19/2015, VA will post the draft Master Plan into the Federal Register, to provide a 45 day comment period to stakeholders and the community.
  • At the end of the public comment period, VA will review the comments received, post summary responses into the Federal Register via a second notice, ready the draft Master Plan for environmental and historic preservation due diligence, and prepare a Final Master Plan for the WLA campus. As VA works towards achieving a Final Master Plan, VA will perform due diligence to assess options to implement the plan over time.
  • GLA will make the draft Master Plan available at http://www.losangeles.va.gov/ upon publication of the Federal Register notice.
  • VA will make physical copies of the Preliminary Draft Final Master Plan available at a number of public libraries throughout greater Los Angeles.
  • GLA will continue to meet with Veterans and stakeholders and solicit feedback within the 45 day public comment period (e.g., via focus groups, online comments, and Federal Register comments).
  • This feedback will be used to further inform and improve upon the draft Master Plan, to ensure that the ongoing revitalization of the WLA campus takes broad levels of feedback into account, so that the campus will reflect a 21st Century state-of-the-art facility that puts the Veteran first.
Q. How will the improvements identified in the final master plan be funded?

A. As VA works towards achieving a Final Master Plan, options for implementing the plan over time will be carefully assessed, including from the Federal budgetary, legislative, and philanthropic perspectives.

Q. Will the VA eliminate leases to other non-VA entities on the VA Campus?

A. Going forward, VA’s efforts to revitalize the campus will not include any third party use of space agreements that do not directly benefit Veterans and their families, and monetary proceeds to VA alone will not suffice. This concept will be a key consideration in terms of how existing and any future land use agreements are evaluated for approval, rejection, or termination. All such reviews will be done with Veterans and their families in mind, along with applicable law. This means agreements will be assessed to determine whether they are “Veteran focused.” The term “Veteran focused” means does or would the agreement result in additional healthcare, benefits, services, or resources being provided directly to Veterans and/or their families on the WLA Campus, other than solely the generation of revenue for VA.

Under this “Veteran focused” definition, monetary proceeds paid to VA alone will not constitute an acceptable agreement to be permitted on the WLA Campus. Neither will agreements that benefit the public at large, versus Veterans and their families. Land use activities at the WLA Campus will be about the Veterans and their families. And VA’s review of proposed third party land use agreements will entail a linear, multilayered process, to ensure adequate due diligence occurs. At a minimum, each agreement will be receive input from the following VA personnel:

(1) West LA Chief of Outreach → (2) VAMC Director → (3) VISN 22 Director → (4) SAO West Land Use Contracting Officer → (5) the San Francisco Regional Counsel Office (now known as the Pacific District (North))→ and (6) OGC’s Real Property Deputy Chief Counsel in VA Headquarters.

Additionally, the WLA Chief of Outreach and Fiscal Office, and VISN 22 Capital Asset Manager, will be required to monitor the executed land use agreements at West LA, to ensure that the third party entities are complying with the negotiated terms and conditions. And as necessary but at least quarterly, they will provide a written analysis to the SAO West Land Use Contracting Officer, regarding any contract-related issues requiring his/her review, input and/or action.

VA will continue implementing corrective actions to address the recommendations of the General Accountability Office for land use activities at the WLA Campus, notably GAO Report 15-501 dated August 2014. VISN 22 will also conduct audits of the land use contracts at West LA, to confirm compliance with terms and conditions, notably the levels of revenues and accounts receivables collected and owed to VA, and to ensure such funds are directed as appropriate, to their proper VA accounts, or to the U.S. Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.

The WLA Chief of Outreach and Fiscal Office, and VISN 22 Capital Asset Manager shall ensure that all executed third party land use contracts and any subsequent amendments or modifications, are uploaded into VA’s Capital Asset Inventory (or successor program), within 30 days of execution, or such other time as national VA policy guidance dictates.

VHA West LA shall adhere to national VA policy guidance regarding VA real property contracts and land use issues, and will consult the VA’s Office of General Counsel as necessary.

Lastly, VA will continue ongoing coordination and cooperation with congressional members and their staffs, and stay apprised of existing and future congressional legislation pertinent to issues at the WLA Campus, such as S. 2013 and H.R. 3484 (known as the “Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015”) and California Proposition 41 (the “Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014); and S. 833 and H.R. 1543 (known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility Earthquake Protection and Improvement Act).

Q. What about UCLA? Brentwood School…?

A. As part of the ongoing master planning process, VA will evaluate UCLA and Brentwood School to determine what additional resources they are ready, willing, and able to propose providing to direct benefit to Veterans and their families, including Veteran use of the UCLA and Brentwood School facilities for therapeutic, recreational, and social events. Further details of what UCLA and Brentwood School are specifically proposing to help VA revitalize the campus for Veterans and their families will be contained in the draft Master Plan, in the form of correspondence that VA recently received from those entities. The ongoing discussions with those entities will be done in a transparent manner, to ensure that stakeholders and the community can provide further feedback going forward. VA recognizes that these entities are flashpoints for certain segments of the Veteran population, stakeholders, and the community. UCLA and Brentwood School realize it as well. And comments that VA received during the process of completing the draft Master Plan revealed that not even all Veterans agree with the optimal roles if any, for UCLA and Brentwood School on the WLA campus, and how they can best serve Veterans and their families. This is why VA plans to have further dialogue with them, to ensure that whatever role they ultimately have or do not have relative to the WLA campus, will be one that is based on the best interests of Veterans and their families..

And regardless, VA’s intent going forward is that the WLA campus will be Veteran focused, to function as a 21st century, state-of-the-art facility, with housing, employment, and other services that make it a vibrant open and welcoming community for Veterans.

Q. How will the Master Plan affect the Columbarium Expansion Project at LA National Cemetery?

A. Efforts are now underway, for VA’s Veteran Health Administration to transfer approximately 13 acres of land (located North of Constitution Avenue and West of Interstate 405), to VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA), for the planned columbarium expansion project. The transfer is currently targeted for November 2015. Once completed, VA will procure a contractor to construct the project. That contract is currently set for award in late 2016/early 2017, with a 24 month construction timeline. The first phase is expected to comprise approximately 10,000 columbarium niches for eligible Veterans and their families, at the only VA National Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Q. How does the Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015 affect the implementation of the Master Plan?

A. VA strongly supports S. 2013 and H.R. 3484 (known as the “Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015”), and appreciates the strong leadership and support of Congress, notably Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Congressman Ted Lieu, to propose legislation that is critical to VA’s ability to implement the goal of revitalizing the campus and to provide needed housing there for Veterans and their families. If enacted, this legislation will enable VA to enter into agreements with housing providers, local governments, community partners, and non-profits to, provide additional housing and services for homeless and disadvantaged Veterans. It also contains carefully crafted protections to ensure that development of the campus is Veteran-focused and consistent with the Master Plan, which reflects significant input from stakeholders. VA will continue its ongoing coordination and cooperation with congressional members and their staffs, and stay apprised of existing and future congressional legislation pertinent to issues at the WLA campus, such as S. 2013 and H.R. 3484 (known as the “Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015”) and California Proposition 41 (the “Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014).