Munger Tolles Helps Restore Housing for Homeless Veterans

Led by name partner Ronald L. Olson, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP worked with others to obtain a settlement in a suit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that promises to reverse decades of misuse of a 387-acre West Los Angeles parcel deeded in 1888 for the specific purpose of housing disabled U.S. veterans. Munger, Tolles & Olson worked with Public Counsel, Arnold & Porter, the ACLU and other counsel to secure the widely publicized settlement announced Jan. 28, 2015.

Under the agreement, the VA will develop a plan to serve Los Angeles’ veterans, particularly homeless veterans, women veterans, aging veterans and veterans that are severely disabled. The agency will also accelerate the creation of a new long-term master plan outlining the future use of the West Los Angeles VA campus with a focus on providing supportive housing, as well as an exit strategy for third-party land use agreements that do not comply with applicable laws and do not fit within the plan.

“This historic agreement, forged through the leadership of [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] Secretary McDonald, creates a partnership that will be invaluable to help end veteran homelessness in Los Angeles, provide needed medical care and services, and make concrete our commitment to those who served our nation’s highest calling,” said Mr. Olson in a statement issued by Public Counsel.

Filed in 2012, the original lawsuit alleged the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to provide necessary housing and treatment for homeless veterans and instead leased nearly 30 percent of the West Los Angeles VA campus to private entities, while other parts remained vacant or underused. The suit was filed on behalf of a putative class of homeless veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions; the Vietnam Veterans of America; and a descendant of Arcadia de Baker, one of the original donors of the property.
 
Mr. Olson led Munger, Tolles & Olson’s representation of the veterans. His practice involves a combination of litigation and corporate counseling.