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Military Families Report Major Problems with Privatized Housing - How Should Congress Respond?

Does the military need to reconsider its use privatized housing?

by Countable | 2.15.19

What’s the story?

  • Black mold, rats, faulty wiring, and asbestos are some of the many issues in private military housing, according to testimony and a survey conducted by the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN).
  • The report was released in concert with a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about the current state of privately managed military housing.  

What did the report say?

  • More than half of survey respondents said they had a “negative” or “very negative” experience with privatized military housing.
  • The MFAN report also found that families’ complaints were often ignored and dangerous conditions persisted.
  • "We heard from multiple families that their concerns were downplayed," the MFAN report said. "Many were told that mold was dirt or that nothing could be done about visibly growing mold on windowsills, walls, and ceilings."
  • A resident in Hawaii said, "Rats would die in our attic, and they'd only come remove them once maggots were falling from the ceiling."

What are people saying?

  • "Military families should not have to worry about their safety inside their own homes, and people need to know about the terrible conditions some military families are living in," says Shannon Razsadin, executive director of MFAN.
  • “I’m infuriated by what I’m hearing today. This is disgusting,” said Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), an Air Force veteran. “There are people I hope look themselves in the mirror tonight. Instead of being partners with our troops, to make sure our way of life is kept safe and free, they left military families hanging. They put you in harm’s way. This is so wrong and so angering to many of us.”
  • One of the companies mentioned in the report, Corvias, told NPR that its staff are listening to aggrieved families.
  • "We also believe it is important - and have already taken several steps - to work with residents who feel our service has been lacking," said Corvias spokesperson Kelly Douglas.
"We hear them and are working hard to win their confidence. If any of our residents feel they are not being heard, we encourage them to reach out to us so we can provide a solution," Douglas added.

What do you think?

Does the military need to reconsider its use of private contractors? Should it make it easier for military families to share housing complaints? Does military housing need closer oversight? Take action above and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / cmannphoto)

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