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VA Seeks to Hire for Homeless Vets Center

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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

August 19, 2015-- Hundreds of new employees will have to be hired when the Veterans Administration expands services at its West Los Angeles Medical Center campus to include long-term care and residential housing.

Some of the new personnel needed include nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs); food service technicians and cook specialists; rehabilitation, occupational and recreational therapists; pharmacists; social workers; materials and stores workers and other administrative and clerical positions, Los Angeles County VA officials announced.

To fill those jobs, VA officials this week announced they'll hold a job fair on Wednesday and Thursday, August 26 and 27, at the Veteran's Home, 11500 Nimitz Avenue, West Los Angeles, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More than 300 new employees will be hired over the coming months as the administration works to transform the 388-acre campus, officials said.

In February, VA officials announced a new director for the West LA campus.

To settle a lawsuit filed by civil rights attorneys on behalf of homeless veterans, VA officials committed themselves to creating housing at the West LA campus and providing services targeted especially for chronically homeless veterans and homeless women veterans.

Critics of the VA have included former Santa Mayor Bobby Shriver, who while on the City Council authored the resolution that joined Santa Monica to the ACLU Foundation's civil suit against the VA.

Shriver and others charged homeless veterans were being under-served while available buildings to house them sat empty and decaying on the West Los Angeles Medical Center campus.

Since February, however, the VA has made some progress in its ultimate goal of turning the campus into a more “veteran-centric” facility, a haven that better meets the needs of the 6,000 or so homeless vets now living on the streets across the county.

Last month, VA officials announced taking another step toward that goal by hiring the urban planning team of Hellmuth, Obata, Kassabaum Inc., Walsh Group and Core Companies to develop a new master plan for the West LA campus.

In June, the campus opened a new $20 million transitional residence for chronically homeless veterans that will serve as a model “for the entire VA,” said Bill Daniels, Homelessness Consultant to the Chief of Staff for the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.  (“Town Hall Meeting Set as VA Makes Progress Housing Homeless Vets,” July 21, 2015)

With 55 single- and double-occupancy units as well as space for job training and supportive services, the 51,500-square-foot, three-story facility is designed to transition continuously homeless veterans to independent living, said VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.

But it also will provide yoga, tai chi, and healthy living classes for residents, plus a kitchen where veterans can learn to cook and an Internet café, said Baxter.

Hundreds of new staff will be needed to “take care of Veterans in our home during the next two years,” VA officials said announcing the job fair.

“If you are caring and compassionate and want to give back to those who have given so much for us, this may be your opportunity,” said the announcement.

For more information, visit www.calvet.ca.gov/jobs, or call 877-605-1332.


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