Maine Delegation Announces Key Step Towards Groundbreaking for New Veterans Mental Health Facility
WASHINGTON — The Maine delegation announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded a design for a new Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (RRTP) building at Togus. The firm Triple C - The A&E Group, LLC will design the project. The new facility was announced last year after dogged work from Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02), along with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01), to advocate for its creation.
“Maine veterans who need long-term mental health and substance use care shouldn’t have to travel out of our state and far from their families to get treatment,” the Maine delegation said in a statement. “That’s why we worked hard to push for this new VA facility at Togus. The design award we’re announcing today brings us a big step closer to providing this crucial care to veterans right here where they need it. We’re pleased to see the VA making progress and being responsive to our appeals for urgency.”
The new facility was announced in 2020, but was at risk of delay as of April, when new guidance put out by the VA threatened to slow down construction. The delegation repeatedly pushed the VA to stick to an aggressive timeline and to expedite work on the new facility.
Maine veterans in need of long-term mental health and substance use treatment currently have to travel out of state for care and on average wait upwards of 132 days to get into treatment programs. The new facility, the first of its kind in the state, would treat over 300 of these veterans per year, keeping them close to their family and friends and cutting down the wait time to access treatment.