VA announces plan to dispose of or reuse all its vacant buildings in 24 months

Move projected to save taxpayers millions annually


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Following through on a key promise from less than a month ago, VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin today announced a plan to dispose of all vacant VA buildings in 24 months either by demolishing or setting for reuse.

Shulkin had raised the vacant building issue as a priority in his “State of the VA” address delivered at the White House on May 31.

Nationwide, VA currently has 430 vacant or mostly vacant buildings that are on average more than 60 years old, and cost taxpayers more than $7 million per year to maintain.

Today, Shulkin announced that, of those 430 buildings, VA has begun disposal or reuse processes on 71. Of the remaining 359 buildings, Shulkin announced VA will begin disposal or reuse processes on another 71 in the next six months, and plans to initiate disposal of the final 288 vacant buildings within 24 months.

“We owe it to the American taxpayer to apply as much of our funding as possible to helping Veterans,” said Shulkin. “Maintaining vacant buildings, including close to 100 from the Revolutionary War and Civil War, makes no sense and we’re working as quickly as possible to get them out of our inventory.”

Secretary Shulkin also announced that VA will review another 784 non-vacant, but underutilized, buildings to determine if additional efficiencies can be identified to be reinvested in Veterans’ services.

Finally, in addition to the building closure, Shulkin announced today that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is freezing its footprint and will maximize space management by leasing or eliminating office space nationwide, thanks to a robust telework program and the digitization of claim files. VA estimates these actions will save taxpayers an additional $15.7 million annually beginning in 2017, for a total of close to $23 million in combined annual savings from the initiatives.

“As I said in my State of the VA presentation, we need to move rapidly to bring savings to taxpayers,” said Shulkin. “We will work through the legal requirements and regulations for disposal and reuse and we will do it as swiftly as possible.”

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Comments

  1. Victor R Sellers    

    A lot of veterans would love a roof over their head, and would be willing to pay for a warmer place to sleep. Many get benefits, but maybe not enough to rent or buy on their own, but partnered up with others, they could more than pay the upkeep, and probably put those buildings in the black. People pay hundreds of thousands for concrete floors, red brick walls, and windows that don’t open and feel they got a deal. Put them up to code and lease them, and bring the “rolling stores” back to them. Politicians don’t want the problems fixed, they want connections, deals, under the table contracts, and to screw the veteran and taxpayers. Show me an honest politician and I will eat a buzzard, raw.

    1. William R Pomeroy    

      Great strategy! Too bad no one will listen to you.

  2. Acarlla Vickie Sanford    

    It would be nice to Reuse some of the old VA buildings as renovation project for homeless veterans and give them a habitat for humanity housing program

    1. Steven M. Hnatiak    

      Some years ago Brecksville VA Medical Ctr. in Brecksville, Ohio was closed down because Wade Park VA Medical Ctr. in Cleveland, Ohio were in two different Political districts and Cleveland got the money. The director of both hospitals made shady deals with contractors and politicians. The Brecksville campus has numerous buildings on 125 acres of land and has more room to build new buildings than the 7 acres of land in Cleveland.The Brecksville campus has a full size basketball court,full size swimming pool, bowling alleys,baseball diamond, plenty of room for a soccer field.When the Brecksville campus was built( mid 1960’s)it a had a bed capacity of 1000 patients. All these areas are NOT PRESENTLY USED. This campus could house HOMELESS VETERANS………

      1. Steven M. Hnatiak    

        Reference July 10,2017 at 12;28PM: A previous director(not the current director) made the decision to close the Brecksville VA campus.

  3. Donald Washington    

    The VA owni enough property in Westwood that was willed to the VA to be used for Vets. Only…they stopped the burials at the cemertery… Many buildings empty while Vets sleep in the worst places…guess who has been lining there pockets for many years..The polite alerts will come in from time to time and say they have a solution…Stealing is had to stop when it been so easy…

  4. Robert Owens    

    It would be nice to get rid of them fairly and squarely sealed bids everything goes when you start rebuilding things for people to live in it’s going to cost us more than if we would have just let it sit there and fall down get rid of it let other people the private sector they know more than the government when it comes to things like this it would be nice to get rid of them fairly and squarely sealed bids everything goes when you start rebuilding things for people to live in it’s going to cost us more than if we would have just let it sit there and fall down get rid of it let other people the private sector they know more than the government when it comes to things like this

  5. JR    

    This would be great, if they took the money to help veterans. My guess is that they money will be taken to line the pockets of politicians and the wealthy.

  6. Matt Penny    

    I dont know if anyone else has thought of or mention this idea, but with all these facilities either unused or “under utilized”, why not split the differences and try to lease/rent these facilities (especially the historic ones) by offering low cost or even no cost ownership/rental to Veterans organizations in need of facilities to use as their individual post homes?
    Larger facilities could be cheaply modified/converted into multi use facilities, shared by the various Veteran organizations, IE American Legion, VFW, Marine Corp League, etc. The exceptionally large facilities could also be easily and cheaply converted to more diverse multi use facilities to address, Homeless Veterans needs, disbursing of the unused building and office equipment from the facilities, again, to the benefit of Veteran organizations, satellite offices for V.A. representatives and service officers.
    Liquidating the building/facilities from the Government inventory is all well and good, but as can and all too often does happen, the Government gets $1000 dollars for a sale, then gets charged $50,000 in bogus, fees, taxes or other made up billing, then the property is resold/re-tasked for 10’s or 100’s of thousands or even millions of dollars in profit.
    Personally, I would forgo a little profit or liquidation of existing buildings and what they contain and make it available to the Veterans organizations to help them/us…I mean, that IS supposed to be the mission of the Veteran’s Administration, isnt it?

  7. Gary Reime    

    I love the idea of helping homeless Vets find housing. Another Vet and myself (we are both Vets) have started a company named Property Rescuers, LLC, in Charlotte, NC and Loganville (Atlanta) GA. Our mission is to buy, refurbish and sell or rent these homes back to the local communities with Vets having priority. Many of these houses have furniture left in them from previous owners that we give away or sell at a cheap price in order to recover some of our cost for storage. In addition we help guide Vets to VA resources for benefits that they may not be aware that they can get. We are always looking for people or companies who have the financial resources to assist us. 100% of financial resources will be returned within 120 days and are secured by the houses we buy. We informed the VA hospitals in NC and GA of our mission but have not yet heard back from them.

    1. William R Pomeroy    

      Agree. Wouldn’t it make sense to use homeless vets and volunteers to bring the properties up to code? I have no doubt that a concerted effort will produce some very successful outcomes. VA could then use the buildings to house those homeless vets, sell the property at a much higher price, or lease the facilities.

  8. Hubert Earle Balkcum    

    You have any in zip code 28470? Just asking?

  9. Michael S Wright    

    Demolish inefficient buildings and create pleasant ‘parks’ for tiny homes.

  10. Gretna Bear    

    Show us the list, or is bidding reserved for on insiders to this Trump administration.

  11. Leonard C Drop    

    Reference: VA Announces Plan to Dispose Of Or Reuse All Its Vacant Buildings in 24 Months: Move Projected to Save Taxpayers Millions Annually
    06/20/2017 02:30 PM EDT

    These actions provide a cost reduction to the VA, not a savings to the tax payer! Is the VA budget going to be less in the new fiscal year? How does this “Save Taxpayers Millions Annually”? What amount of money can I expect to see in tax reduction based on this cost reduction at the VA?

    This cost reduction is a very nice accomplishment for the VA in eliminating waste and I’m sure that the VA will be using the savings to spend on other important improvements at the VA, but communicate it in a more factual manner.

Comments are closed.