50,000 veterans living in Southwest Alabama are relieved to hear that a new VA clinic is being built after years of bureaucratic delays and set-backs. The VA has been hemorrhaging money by leasing two floors at the University of South Alabama for the steep price of $83,000 a month. The 45,000 square foot space is due to see a rent increase of up to $222,000 by January, making the location financially impossible to maintain.
Patrons of the current facility state that the clinic is outdated and doesn’t offer the services they need. Arthur McClain, a local veteran, shared the troubles the outdated facility has caused him with Local 15 reporters:
“I’ve had to go to Pensacola the last four times for my diabetic treatments and I’ve had to go to Biloxi for several treatments the last three times,”
Congressman Bradley Byrne made it a top priority to secure a new facility for the ailing veterans of Alabama. He fought tirelessly for the clinic to be approved and made the announcement during a press release on Thursday. He fought in Congress and even sent an official letter to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs pleading him to expedite the process.
Getting the facility is only the first step according to Byrne. He told Alabama Today reporters:
“The work is not done. I will continue to provide diligent oversight throughout the construction process to ensure the project remains on schedule. We must also continue pushing for reforms at the VA to ensure accountability and promote greater choices for our veterans.”
The site and time frame it will take to complete the facility has not yet been announced. The VA is currently trying to negotiate a deal with the University of South Alabama while a new site is selected and the proper accommodations are made.