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Lawmakers look to help Veterans Village after inewsource investigation

Following inewsource’s investigation into Veterans Village of San Diego, California and U.S. lawmakers said they are working to address concerns.
Credit: Zoë Meyers/inewsource
The Veterans Village of San Diego campus is shown on June 3, 2022.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Following inewsource’s investigation into Veterans Village of San Diego, state and federal lawmakers said they are working to address concerns about conditions at the nonprofit’s rehab center. State health officials are also investigating complaints against the treatment program.

The reporting, published in four stories earlier this month, describes widespread substance use at the renowned drug and alcohol treatment center, as well as unsafe living conditions, violence on the campus, a severe staffing shortage, plummeting food quality and poor sanitation.

The day the articles published, Veterans Village fired employee Danelle Harrington, a former Navy firefighter and graduate from the rehab center who spoke out about her concerns.

The office of Toni Atkins, California Senate President pro Tempore, said the lawmaker has been briefed on inewsource’s investigation and the concerns raised by Veterans Village residents and staff.

“I recently learned of the serious allegations regarding the quality of services at their residential rehabilitation center and severe staffing shortage, and am very concerned,” Atkins, D-San Diego, said in a statement. “With one of the largest concentrations of veteran residents in the country, the need for VVSD’s services in San Diego is more critical than ever.”

San Diego County is home to the third-most veterans of any U.S. county, according to data from the Census Bureau.

Atkins is a longtime supporter of Veterans Village and attends the nonprofit's annual event for homeless veterans, Stand Down, which has been replicated in hundreds of cities. In her statement, she said the organization has transformed thousands of lives during its 40-year history.

“I will be seeking answers from VVSD and others to better understand the issues at hand,” Atkins said. “I expect VVSD leadership to identify solutions expeditiously.”

Veterans Village CEO Akilah Templeton declined to comment for this story. In a prior interview, she denied the concerns about widespread drug use and poor living conditions in the facility.

To read the full story from inewsource, click here.

inewsource is a nonprofit, independently funded newsroom that produces impactful investigative and accountability journalism in San Diego County. Learn more at inewsource.org.

WATCH RELATED: Inewsource talks about its investigation into Veterans Village (Jun 17, 2022)


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