Spring '14 Capstone Competition 1st Prize Winner

John Rivers

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars tremendously increased the demand among veterans for mental health services. About two in every five veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom will have mental health challenges — resulting in 500,000 to 800,000 veterans in need. Not all of these veterans will seek treatment in the Veteran Affairs Health Care System but those who do face longer and longer wait times. Increased media coverage on tragedies attributed to PTSD such as the Fort Hood shootings have ap- plied greater public and political pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to find strategies to mitigate these unfortunate events. This proposal seeks to build upon this public support for veteran care and work in-conjunction with the VA to develop a new, state-of-the- art Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder facility. This proposal provides a service the VA is heavily seeking to capitalize on never before had development opportunities.

Changes in the national health care delivery system coupled with shifting veteran demographics have created expensive inefficiencies the government is ill suited to handle. As such, the VA has utilized a capital asset management tool entitled Enhanced-Use Leasing (EUL). This program gives the VA authority to enter into public/private partnerships with the purpose of developing vacant or underutilized VA properties. VA property is made available to private entities in exchange for in-kind consideration that contributes to the VA’s mission. The VA property is leased for up to 75 years with in-kind con- sideration to the VA taking various forms. These have included sharing revenues, providing services to veterans, and receiving certain VA expenses. The EUL program also allows the VA to directly retain and spend proceeds without having to obtain congressional action. Because of this monetary advantage and increased flexibility, the VA is currently seeking to complete more EUL deals. This project seeks to build upon this desire, helping the nations veterans by developing, at no cost to the VA, a new PTSD therapy center, providing flex units for veteran’s families to utilize while they are in treatment, and offering veterans priority-housing opportu- nities along a beautiful waterfront property.