Homeless Living on Veteran's Row in Brentwood Moving to Transitional Housing

According to deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the cleanup operation began two months ago.

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Dozens of homeless individuals living in the Veteran's Row homeless encampment in Brentwood are packing their bags and moving to transitional housing on Monday.

According to deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the cleanup operation began two months ago, when up to 50 homeless veterans were staying in tents along San Vicente Boulevard.

Many of those veterans are already in transitional housing.

"It was an easy transition," said Douglas Steven Bue, a veteran of the U.S. Army. "I had help bringing my property over. The tents are clean, organized."

Bue says he made the move over the fence and onto Veteran's Affairs property earlier this week.

His move is part of LA County's goal to house homeless veterans and clean up tents from the sidewalk.

"The main reason I decided to go, and I talked with all law enforcement, is because it’s too damn dangerous out on the street," Bue said.

This year alone, the encampment has been linked to two homicides and one deadly crash.

Bue opted into tent camp accommodations for safety. Others were given the option to stay in dorms on the Westwood VA Campus and in rooms with Project Homekey.

Parts of San Vicente Boulevard remained closed Monday morning as cleanup efforts continued.

"Gembob" Brookhyser was one of the last to go on Monday.

He was loading what he valued into an outreach group's van, which will then transport it to his new home. A skip loader scooped up what he didn't need into a giant pile and dropped it into a trash bin. The whole thing took about two minutes.

"If you look over that way, that's where we're gonna be," said the former U.S. Army medic, referring to the other side of the fence, on VA property, where many will re-locate. "Like I said, it's a win."

Like many who ended up on "veterans' row," he came initially for VA medical care or treatment.

But he couldn't afford housing during the wait, so he ended up on the sidewalk, where he says skin infections on his legs grew worse because of a lack of hygiene.

"I mean, how am I gonna get a shower? Where's the shower?"

The group effort was coordinated in collaboration with the LA County Public Works Department, various homeless outreach groups and the Sheriff's Department.

Lt. William Kitchin, of the Sheriff's Department Homeless Outreach Services Team, is helping lead the operation.

"I've asked all my veterans on my team to be here," Kitchin said. "We also have our mental evaluation team, so we’re trying to throw everything at the issue to try and get people off the streets."

Critics argue it's a band-aid solution, hoping the work to house homeless veterans doesn't stop here. Bue is also hoping this is a first step toward permanent housing.

Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.

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