NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressman Jim McGovern announced the VA Medical Center in Leeds will stay open Monday.

The announcement comes after the VA recommended closing the facility and relocating services to Springfield and Connecticut. Back in March, the VA had suggested closing the Leeds facility due to significant maintenance issues, investment requirements, and engineering challenges at the building. The idea sparked outrage among veterans and their supporters who depend on local services.

Congressman McGovern said in a social media post that the facility will, in fact, stay open and that he will continue to work with the commission to stop additional closures from moving forward.

A spokesperson for the VA Medical Center said they would not comment on the decision but a nonprofit that offers services on campus is glad the facility is staying.

“It’s a sense of comfort almost that the process won out,” said Bruce Buckley, CEO & President on Soldier On. The non-profit is not part of the VA Medical Center, but it does receive funding from them and is located on their campus. They work with veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to help them get on their feet.

Soldier On built housing in 2016 for veterans to permanently stay and now that the VA Medical Center is staying in Leeds, these veterans are going to continue to have their services right at their doorstep.

“Between losing all the services the VA provides and specifically for the veterans that live here full time, it was really not going to be a good situation,” said Buckley.

The Leeds Medical Center serves tens of thousand of veterans each year.

Senator Velis sent 22News the following statement: 

“Yesterday a bi-partisan group of US Senators blocked the proposed closures of the Leeds VA Medical Facility in Northampton and other VA facilities across the Country. 

From the very start, so many of us have stood steadfast against this irresponsible proposal to close Leeds.  Veterans and advocates rallied, they spoke out, and they showed how critical it is for our region that this facility remains open. The powers that be heard loud and clear from us that this would have had a disastrous effect if they went forward, and I am glad that they listened.  

I am grateful to all who have to fought to ensure that the 24,000 Veterans the facility serves each year will continue get to the care they need and have earned in service to our nation.”