3 Homeless Assistance Groups Get VA Grants

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded more than $500,000 in grants to three local homeless assistance groups.

VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Kenneth Kizerwill preside at a special ceremony Monday at the L.A. Family Housing Corp.'s Valley Shelter in North Hollywood to disburse the grants, which will pay for a variety of services to help both veterans and nonveterans.

The nonprofit L.A. Family Housing Corp., which manages low-income housing complexes in addition to operating homeless shelters in North Hollywood and Boyle Heights, will receive $154,700 from the VA to help it complete its rehabilitation of two Valley facilities.

The group's Valley Shelter on Lankershim Boulevard, which currently provides housing for families, is being renovated to serve as a shelter for single adults, said assistant director Jeff Farber. When complete, the facility will have a total of 175 beds, 30 of which will be dedicated to homeless veterans. A new family shelter, with space for 68 families, is being built nearby.

The grant "will enable us to complete our rehabilitation," Farber said. "It's a big expansion.

"We will be providing an array of services so these vets, who are one of the most underserved sub-populations among the homeless, can get their lives back together," Farber said.

Other Southern California groups receiving VA grants include Los Angeles Veterans Initiative Inc. (L.A. Vets) and New Directions Inc.

L.A. Vets will receive $328,000 to develop the Ventura Residence Hall, a 72-bed transitional housing facility in Ventura, and New Directions will receive $28,000 to construct a classroom for culinary arts at its 158-bed center on the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center grounds, officials said.

The grants are among more than $90 million being spent by the VA on homeless assistance programs nationwide this year, officials said.

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