The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to divest itself of all of its vacant buildings within two years. The buildings will either be demolished or “set for reuse,” VA Secretary David J. Shulkin said. The department owns 430 buildings with an average age of 60 years old, which are either partially or fully empty. Taxpayers provide more than $7 million annually for their upkeep. Shulkin said that VA already has begun efforts to dispose of 71 such buildings within the next six months. Additionally, Shulkin said that the Veterans Benefits Administration will no longer expand into more building space. The agency also will lease or eliminate office space across the country – a step facilitated by expanded use of teleworking and digitized claim-file systems. The change could save VA as much as $15.7 million per year.
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