Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing, VA Campus

Architect: LEO A DALY

Location: Los Angeles, California

Vacant for decades, it was renovated to serve as a prototype for therapeutic residences.


Building 209 is one of many historic buildings on the US Veterans Affairs Department’s (VA) West Los Angeles healthcare campus. Vacant for decades, it was falling into decay rather than serving its original purpose of healing our nation’s veterans. Meanwhile, homelessness in Los Angeles County has become an epidemic, with 4,343 veterans living on the streets.

"Spaces, landscaping, and rooms afford a believable sense of importance of and gratitude towards the residents." - Jury comment

As part of the VA’s vanguard effort to rehabilitate the West Los Angeles campus, the design team was challenged to renovate Building 209 to serve as a prototype for therapeutic residences. It is the first permanent supportive housing project on the campus, and uses an emergent service model that has proven successful in creating lasting change while taking stress off the social-service system.

Through evidence-based design and close collaboration with formerly homeless veterans, Building 209 has been fully restored and transformed into therapeutic housing for 65 homeless men and women. The three-level structure supports an entirely new functional program of specialized accommodations. Fifty-five apartments (45 single, 10 double) provide residents with stable housing and all of the services needed to facilitate their recovery.

"Respectful of the original building, and respectful of the occupants on the inside." - Jury comment

After decades of neglect, Building 209 now provides long-term therapeutic housing for individuals whose previous recovery attempts have failed, helping build the skills they need to participate in society, care for themselves, and reach their life goals.

Additional information

Structural Engineer: Nabih Youssef & Associates

Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical & Fire-sprinkler System: Sin Ha and Keyfauver Engineers, Inc.

Cost Management: Cumming Clarke

Civil Engineer: Jensen Design and Survey, Inc.

Historic Preservation: Chattel, Inc.

Landscape: Mia Lehrer and Associates

LEED Silver Certification and Commissioning: Green Dinosaur

General Contractor: Westport Construction Inc.


2016 AIA Housing Awards Jury

Jamie Blosser, AIA (Chair), Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ariella Cohen, Editor-in-Chief, Next City, Philadelphia

Kevin Harris, FAIA, Kevin Harris Architect, LLC, Baton Rouge

David Lee, FAIA, Stull and Lee, Inc., Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts

Suman Sorg, FAIA, Sorg & Associates, P.C., Washington, DC

Image credits

Homeless Vets Courtyard

Lawrence Anderson

Homeless Vets - lobby entrance

Lawrence Anderson

Homeless Vets - Apartment Hallway

Lawrence Anderson

Homeless Vets - Single Occupancy Studio

Lawrence Anderson

Homeless Vets - social space

Lawrence Anderson

Homeless Vets - studio apartment

Lawrence Anderson