You didn’t hear a word about homeless veterans in President Obama’s State of the Union speech last January and chances are you won’t hear anything from him about those vets next month, either, unless it’s a boilerplate homage for their contributions to American freedom.
But homeless veterans are a major national problem, and an even larger one in California, where an estimated 18,000 live on the streets of Los Angeles County alone, perhaps as many as 40,000 statewide.
And yet … hundreds of beds in veterans homes are empty today. It’s true those veterans homes, mostly run by the state Department of Veterans Affairs, are intended as both skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, not as homeless shelters. Nevertheless, it’s logical to wonder why those vacant beds can’t be pressed into service for veterans in desperate need of quarters.
There are also open questions about whether the largest and most valuable piece of real estate in this state intended solely for the use of veterans will ever be used to anything approaching its capacity — or whether much of it will be sold off as a momentary deficit-easing tactic...