Arlington, VA – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a plan to dispose of or reuse all its vacant buildings within 2 years. The 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.
At a House hearing in May, VA Secretary David Shulkin stated that he’d identified hundreds of empty or under-utilized VA buildings costing the federal government millions of dollars. He said that he would work with Congress in prioritizing buildings for closure.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“It makes perfect sense to shut down empty VA buildings that aren’t being used by veterans. This measure will save millions in taxpayer dollars and allow the VA to align their resources towards urgent priorities within the department. We applaud Secretary Shulkin for taking this logical approach to eliminating inefficiencies within the VA so that veterans can receive better care.”
The Secretary also announced that the VA will review another 784 non-vacant, but underutilized, buildings to determine if additional efficiencies can be identified to be reinvested in Veterans’ services. An internal VA report showed that of the 431 completely vacant VA buildings, most were built nearly a century ago or more.
Secretary Shulkin also recently announced that he was leaving thousands of unnecessary positions unfilled at the VA, citing the need for a “leaner” and “more accountable” department.