Ayotte, Shaheen Announce New Facility for NH Vets Center
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs will relocate the Manchester Veterans Center to a newly renovated facility in Hooksett.
Earlier this week, Ayotte and Shaheen sent a joint letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki urging his department to approve a contract that would allow the Vets Center to relocate. The Hooksett property was identified nearly 25 months ago, yet delays in the approval process have prevented the relocation from moving forward.
"The Manchester Veterans Center provides important services for New Hampshire veterans, and I'm pleased that the relocation has finally been approved," said Senator Ayotte. "This new facility will help ensure that our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country, continue to receive the care they need and deserve."
"New Hampshire's men and women who have served in uniform deserve access to quality, local veterans' health services," said Senator Shaheen. "This relocation is long overdue and I'm thrilled that our veterans will soon have a new facility to call their own. They deserve nothing less."
The current Vets Center in Manchester has had significant safety concerns and is too small for veterans to hold many of their activities. As a result, area veterans have been forced to find alternative spaces to meet. The new center will increase the center's space from 2,200 square feet to 4,975 square feet and will feature new space for physical therapy, educational activities and group meetings. Both senators have been working with the Manchester VA Center and the regional Health Administration to help secure final approval and approve the site's relocation.
The full text of the senators' letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is below.
The Honorable Eric Shinseki
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
Let us begin by thanking you for your commitment and dedication to serving our nation's veterans. In New Hampshire, veterans comprise almost ten percent of our population, and as senators, the two of us have worked closely together to support the work of the Veterans Administration (VA) in ensuring that New Hampshire veterans have the care they need and deserve.
We are writing to you today about our concern with a contract currently pending for new space for the Manchester, NH Vet Center. This new facility will help the numerous veterans currently utilizing the services of the Vet Center and move them out of a facility that is nearly 80 years old. The contract for a new facility for the Vet Center has now been pending for close to 25 months.
Our offices have been contacted by numerous veterans concerned that the current facility has considerable safety issues and cannot accommodate the number of veterans who gather for group sessions. As a consequence, each month the veterans groups are forced to meet at other locations around the city where space is available.
Since November of last year, our staffs have been engaged with the VA Medical Center in Manchester, the VA Integrated Service Network Region1, and their respective contracting staffs to follow-up on the status of this contract in an effort to push it to completion. The date for approval of the contract has been delayed three times, since our involvement began last year.
We ask that the VA complete this long overdue contract as soon as possible. Our nation's veterans who have sacrificed so much deserve no less. We look forward to working with you to ensure we are able to complete this contract and make the new Manchester Vet Center a reality in the near future.