POV: Point of View

Veterans Housing & Proposition 41

Oct. 2014

Last June, after a successful campaign led by the Coalition for Veterans Housing, Proposition 41, the California Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014, was overwhelmingly approved by voters.


Prop 41 authorizes $600 million in general obligation bonds to expand housing options—safe, decent, affordable places to live to relieve homelessness for veterans and their families.


The measure allows the state to reallocate previously unspent veterans bonds to provide financial assistance and low-interest loans to local governments, nonprofit organizations and private developers for the purpose of constructing and renovating affordable multifamily housing for low-income veterans.


The passage of Prop 41 enables the state, home to the largest veteran population in the country, to renew efforts to address the urgent demand for affordable and supportive housing for veterans with special needs. More than 25 percent of the nation’s homeless and at-risk vets call California home. Many of them are facing the challenges of PTSD and other combat-related illnesses, substance abuse, and extreme financial insecurity.


We are here to help. At Withee Malcolm Architects we understand the needs of this population and believe that good design can help restore a sense of community, stability, and dignity for veterans. Over many years, we have been helping to create affordable housing that often includes homes for veterans and those with special needs. These are the kind of quality environments that have proven to help transition and support our veterans.


Del Rey Square Senior Apartments in West Los Angeles is just one example of how we create environments that address the needs of this vulnerable population. Currently providing permanent supportive housing and services to 31 formerly homeless civilians and veterans, Del Rey Square embodies architectural design that enhances the lives of residents and the surrounding community. Throughout, there is attention to ease of movement and access to community spaces that foster social connection and interaction.


We are currently working with Affirmed Housing on Vermont Villas, a new project in Los Angeles, which will provide permanent supportive housing for 78 special needs and veteran seniors (aged 55+) who are chronically homeless and who may be disabled. 50 of the units will be occupied by formerly homeless vets, who will be able to receive substantial resident services provided by PATH Ventures, a Los Angeles-based non-profit that works to provide housing options for people transitioning from shelters or other transitional programs.