UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald today announced a stronger academic affiliation to benefit our nation’s veterans as UCLA committed to providing $1.15 million annually in support of new programs and services, approximately $200,000 of in-kind contributions and $300,000 a year in fair-market rent for the continued use of Jackie Robinson Stadium. New and expanded services will include mental health, family support, legal advocacy and recreation services.
“Beyond research and teaching, UCLA’s other core mission is service, and I can think of no better way to serve our community than through an even stronger partnership with the VA,” Block said. “Secretary McDonald’s commitment to transform the West Los Angeles campus into a truly veteran-centric place that modernizes programs and offers greater opportunities has inspired UCLA to explore new ways to work with the VA. We’re confident that together we will make a bigger difference in veterans’ lives than either of us would alone.”
The new framework will also allow for the continued use of Jackie Robinson Stadium by UCLA’s baseball team for a term of 10 years at an annual rent of $300,000. The stadium, along with a new park area adjacent to the Veterans’ Garden, will be used as a site for new recreational, leisure and therapeutic activities for veterans and their families.
New initiatives include:
- $750,000 annually to design and implement a UCLA–VA Family Resource and Well-Being Center and a Mental Health and Addictions Center for Excellence. The Family Resource and Well-Being Center will be based on the work of Patricia Lester, the Jane and Marc Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and a nationally recognized expert in family resilience and trauma. It is intended to become a national model for veteran families and women veterans, offering a one-stop portal for access to specialized family resilience, social work, legal, education, parenting skills and other services. The primary focus of the Center for Excellence’s clinical, research and educational function will be to address the needs of homeless, disadvantaged veterans with co-occurring addictions, mental health and medical complications.
- $400,000 annually to expand and relocate the UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic to provide enhanced legal services to veterans on the West Los Angeles VA campus, emphasizing the benefits of advocacy and the legal needs of homeless veterans.
- UCLA will provide $2 million worth of in-kind services over 10 years for recreation, expertise and mentorship, and the establishment of new fellowship programs.
- UCLA will develop and initiate new recreation programs at the stadium, park and garden, such as special events and access for veterans, including hosting a veterans baseball team, an adaptive sports training area and an area to grow produce for personal use and entrepreneurial development.
- UCLA will provide expertise and mentorship in the design and implementation of the Master Plan in areas like landscaping and housing, with the intent of the West Los Angeles VA campus developing some of the welcoming, functional and efficient characteristics of UCLA’s campus.
- UCLA will assist in establishing a new, integrated, interdisciplinary fellowship and training program structured around delivering services to homeless veterans, with a particular focus on chronically homeless veterans.
The agreement is conditioned on the passage of federal legislation authored by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, currently entitled the Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015.