Get the Los Angeles Veterans Resources Info You Need
According to a recent study by the University of Southern California, California is home to more than 1.8 million former U.S. military service members, giving it the largest veteran population of any state. In Los Angeles County itself – the state’s most populous county – more than 12,000 veterans transition into civilian life each year, joining the 325,000+ veterans who already reside there. With so many veterans in one city, it’s not surprising that there is a wide range of services available to veterans in the Lost Angeles area.
For example, the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System – the largest healthcare system within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – supports three medical centers in the LA area. Veterans can access health services at the West Los Angeles Medical Center at 11301 Wilshire Blvd, the Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center at 16111 Plummer Street, or the Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center at 351 East Temple Street. All three facilities can be reached by driving or by public transit via L.A. Metro rail or bus lines, and you may also be eligible for reimbursements from the VA Beneficiary Travel Program, or for assistance from the Veterans Transportation Service Program.
The California Department of Veterans Affairs hosts a robust online site – CalVet – with a range of services for honorably discharged veterans, recognizing that the different generations of veterans need different types of support. From residency in a state Veterans Homes or helping veterans purchase a home through the Farm and Home Loan program, to connecting veterans to employers interested in hiring veterans, CalVet strives to serve veterans and their families with dignity and compassion to help them achieve their highest quality of life.
Unfortunately, with such a large veteran population, Los Angeles also suffers from a high rate of veteran homelessness, and a study by the LA Homeless Services Authority reported that LA has the largest population of homeless military veterans in the nation with more than 3,000 living on the streets. Many of these veterans suffer from co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic medical problems.
In a response to this need, the non-profit New Directions for Veterans was founded in 1992, starting operations in a single rented home helping a handful of homeless veterans. Today, New Directions for Veterans – or NDVets –partners with the VA and public and private funders to help more than 1,000 homeless and at-risk veterans each year get their lives back on track. The agency operates four Transitional Housing Programs, a rapid re-housing and homeless prevention program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families; The West LA VA Welcome Center which offers a 24/7 drop-in center for immediate housing and services; and six permanent supportive housing facilities in Los Angeles county.
For veterans looking to meet with fellow veterans or get some in-person help with VA claims, the Los Angeles area Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 2122, located at 2019 Van Wick St, is a great place to start. The VFW helps L.A. veterans to understand, file and appeal benefits claims and also hosts social event and gatherings. The Los Angeles area also is home to two festive Veterans Day parades, with the Northeast Los Angeles Veterans Day parade and the San Fernando Valley Veterans Day parade honoring America’s men and women in uniform.
Written By Megan Hammons