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Morning Brief: Housing LA’s Veterans

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Good morning, L.A.

For Angelenos without housing, the pandemic has exacerbated existing problems and created new ones. Crowded shelters, little access to clean water and the shuttering of formerly safe indoor spaces mean that they face an exorbitantly higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus, and few places to rest or recoup from daily challenges.

So when a new facility that would have provided housing to homeless veterans burned to the ground in September, it was a loss that hit the community hard.

"Four years worth of work just burned down in a matter of hours," said Manuel Bernal, president of the nonprofit affordable housing developer East LA Community Corporation.

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My colleague Robert Garrova reports that the facility, located at the intersection of 1st Street and Rowan Avenue in East L.A. and named Nuevo Amanecer, would have offered 30 units to veterans, and low-income housing for others in the community. Residents were expected to begin moving in at the end of the year.

It’s a loss that highlights the desperate need for rooms for people experiencing homelessness, and in particular, for veterans.

"I know veterans who have died on the streets," said John Williams, a formerly homeless ex-marine. "They never made it off."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

What You Need To Know Today

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County has, once again, shattered its own daily COVID-19 records, reporting another 12,819 new cases yesterday. The county has also reported the first death of a child from MIS-C, a rare illness linked to COVID-19.

Protesters v. LAPD: In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti's office said that the mayor "hope[s] that the situation will deescalate because the safety of demonstrators and police officers is of the utmost importance," in response to what some called an excessive use of force at a protest outside Garcetti's home.

Money Matters: L.A. County is suspending parking tickets — but the city of L.A. is not. Some economists are forecasting better days ahead, once the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed.

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The Roaring Twenties, which also marked a period of significant social change, followed another devastating pandemic: The 1918 Flu.

American Racism: Our panel of experts takes a closer look at racism in the military justice system, and steps being taken to address it.

Census 2020: The congressional district that spans much of central Los Angeles has earned an unwelcome recognition: it had the lowest self-response to the 2020 Census in the entire state.

Here’s What To Do: Catch a family-friendly magic show, ring in the holidays with Cyndi Lauper, celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.

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