Residents of three Northport VA buildings went a week without...

Residents of three Northport VA buildings went a week without hot water because of a pipe repair project, officials said. Credit: Johnny Milano

Residents of three Northport VA Medical Center buildings, including a homeless shelter, went a week without hot water because of a pipe repair project, an agency official confirmed to Newsday.

The outages, which began Oct. 5, ended at 8 p.m. Tuesday and affected residents of Building 64, home to the residential post-traumatic stress disorder treatment program; Building 65, which houses the mental health clinic and the Northport VA Beacon House Homeless Shelter, Long Island's only facility for homeless veterans.

The steam pipe replacement project was originally expected to be completed last Friday but "unforeseen" problems led to a delay, said Northport VA spokesman Chad Cooper on Tuesday.

"It's aging infrastructure," Cooper said Tuesday. "And it's being resolved … The pipes are old and aging."

Residents of the three buildings had the option of either taking cold showers or using "warm comfort wipes" for bathing, Cooper said.

"They used the comfort wipes and most of the residents had no problem," he said.

United Veterans Beacon House, a Bay Shore-based nonprofit that operates the 34-bed shelter, did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) called the problems "completely unacceptable. The greatest obligation we have as a nation is to take care of our men and women who have served in our armed forces. These veterans deserve no less and I am calling on the Northport VAMC to address these aging infrastructure risks immediately."

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General reported last year that four rooms in Building 65 were closed for much of 2019 because of damage from a leak in an abandoned ceiling steam pipe that unexpectedly collected water.

A 2017 Northport VA report found that 61% of Building 65's infrastructure systems were in "poor or critical condition" and would cost nearly $6 million to repair.

Problems at the Northport VA, which cares for 31,000 veterans annually, have drawn increasing attention since at least 2016, when failing air conditioning equipment in the Vietnam War-era hospital building forced a four-month suspension of all surgeries, sending veterans to get emergency surgical procedures in Manhattan or the Bronx.

Long Island's only veterans hospital has undergone several leadership changes in recent years with past administrators allowing numerous infrastructure projects to remain uncompleted, forcing the facility to forfeit repair dollars. A 2017 internal VA investigation concluded that poor oversight of contractors resulted in incomplete projects costing Northport more than $9 million in federal funding.

The sprawling Northport VA Medical Center campus has been undergoing major construction work in recent months, including the demolition of two nearly century-old buildings.

The Northport VA is part of a network of medical facilities under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez; Jeff Bachner; File Footage

'I think it's the best for the country' People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee.

People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez; Jeff Bachner; File Footage

'I think it's the best for the country' People on Long Island share their thoughts on President Joe Biden's decision to drop out of the 2024 election and the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming the Democratic nominee.

Latest videos

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.