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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 | Updated on 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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(172)
  • Leslie
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    THESE PRIVITIZED ENTITIES ARE USING AND PROFITING FROM TAXPAYER'S DOLLARS! THIS IS A HEINOUS CRIME PUT INTO PRACTICE BY DICK CHENEY WITH HIS TIES TO THE BLACKWATER CORPORATION. HE PROFITED MIGHTILY AND THE REPUBLICANS WATCHED WITH GLEE AND HAVE FOLLOWED SUIT TO THE EXTENT OF TRYING TO TAKE OVER AMERICA'S CONSTITUTIONAL POSTAL SERVICE. I'M AFRAID WE THE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO FIGHT A REVOLUTION TO TAKE OUR GOVERNMENT BACK FROM YOU ENTITLED ASSES AS OUR FOUNDING FATHERS GAVE US THE RIGHT TO DO AND FORESAW HAPPENING

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  • Kasey
    Voted Maybe
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Veterans? Living? Who cares right? The wall is an emergency, screw veterans! 🙄 That’s what’s happening right now while a veteran stares down mold, rats and terrible healthcare. Wtg America. We have completely lost our values, empathy, morals and principals, but woohoo on the wall? Wonder if we’re also paying for him to add his name in gold every few hundred feet.

    Like (19)
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  • ConservativeGuy
    Voted No
    02/16/2019
    ···

    Because everybody knows that the government makes superior products. I mean, just look at the Obamacare website.

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  • Gregory
    02/18/2019
    ···

    No one should have to live like that, especially the military families. If privatized housing can't fix this problem immediately, then they should lose the privilege of providing housing for the military families.

    Like (3)
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  • J. scott
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Congress should respond by returning this mission to government control. Perfect example of why privatization doesn’t work. It sounds great at first — lower cost, higher efficiency, greater customer satisfaction. Problem is after the private sector bleeds the major cash from the system things get worse not better especially with housing. They are usually able to skate by blaming poor maintenance on the tenants. Privatization is generally a scam designed to shift federal dollars to oligarchs. Exactly what happen in Russia with their privatization program right after the Cold War.

    Like (23)
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  • Poli.Sci
    Voted No
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Accountability goes a long way when forcing private entities to provide more than the basic and minimum requirements in helping our veterans and on duty soldiers. Privatization is not the problem because it is the government’s responsibility to enforce regulations and if this was made into public housing, trust me, they would be far worse than what they have because the government cannot handle the capacity of public spending for housing. Provide better oversight and the markets will provide better environments. Or, remove the contractor if they do not provide better environments, that is not very hard to do.

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  • eliyak
    Voted Maybe
    02/15/2019
    ···

    What exactly is privatized about this housing - that the government didn't actually build it, just paid an exhorbitant rate to a preferred contractor? If the government builds housing with privately sourced materials, is that also privatized housing? Here's a better plan: actually privatize military housing via vouchers, so that military families can build better quality houses at reasonable market rates

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  • Pascale
    02/18/2019
    ···

    What is being done to soldiers and their families is so shameful! The so-called president said HE would take better care of military veterans than any past president. He has done absolutely nothing! Shame on the Republican Party for enabling him to continue to do nothing!

    Like (2)
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  • Glowurm
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    We must reconsider our use of ANY privatization! So far, the rich get richer at OUR expense. The mental and physical pain we suffer at their hands is unconscionable. They should have NEVER given Chaney a heart. At his age, he wouldn't have even been considered for one! His money and power bought it. What a disgrace! GIVING A HEART TO A HEARTLESS INDIVIDUAL, WHO RIPPED US OFF LIKE CRAZY, AND WHO STILL CONTINUES TO DO SO. WHO PUT US IN ALL THESE WARS FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN! What a travesty. His daughter is no better! I am beyond disgusted with ALL of you!

    Like (19)
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  • Chickie
    Voted Yes
    02/16/2019
    ···

    One of the contractors used to provide military housing is Corvias; founder John Picerne stands to earn $1 billion on long-term Army/Air Force housing contracts. Picerne owns several properties, including several vacation homes. One of which is the historic Capard House, a 100 acre property in Ireland that he purchased in 2015. It has two 18th century mansions on the property, which Picerne renovated to the highest of specifications. Hiring a renowned interior designer, Picerne is also having a personal golf course installed on the grounds. In sharp contrast, the Corvias military properties in LA, NC, and MD are plagued by flooding, vermin, mold blooms, collapsed ceilings, exposed lead paint, and brown tap water. How is it that the military housing office hasn’t investigated this slum Lord who has been contracted by the military for over 20 years? How is it that the military has not investigated this massive misspending allowing our military members and their families to live in such squalor? Investigate the misuse of funds and mismanagement of all contracted property providers and property management. Fire and fine all the guilty property contractors. Admit the use of private contractors has not worked. Our military members and their families have suffered long enough. Before housing contractors, the military used their own resources to provide housing for all of our military. It’s time to take back control of our military housing and end all the mismanagement and misspending.

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  • burrkitty
    Voted Yes
    02/16/2019
    ···

    For-profit corporations put profit first over all other considerations including human lives. Who knew? Only everyone with a brain. Immorally profiting off the misery of people? How dare they act like OUR ENTIRE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM?

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  • John
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    I’m not sure why this surprises anyone. It seems like every single time we privatize something, there are major issues. The simple fact is that for profit corporations are for profit. For profit. That’s their purpose for existing, and they will take any shortcut possible in order to achieve, not long term profits, but a good quarterly statement. This is a fundamental flaw of unregulated capitalism.

    Like (13)
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  • Rebekah
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    This was a corrupt give-away to Republican donors from the start. Military housing is the responsibility of the military, period. Stop short changing our veterans!

    Like (8)
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  • Annette
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Our military, those who serve and sacrifice for our country, deserve far better than these conditions. Why is it that those who serve to provide for the public welfare is the most mistreated in their care? Because we as a nation have allowed it. No more.

    Like (8)
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  • Lowe
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    These are the real problems that we need to be addressing, among other issues.

    Like (7)
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  • Maurice
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Congressman Perry you should know as a military man yourself that you want your family in quality housing while you’re serving.

    Like (7)
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  • Ray
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Take the money trump wants to take away from the military for the damn wall and solve the problem with it.

    Like (6)
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  • Mark
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Why are these SLUM LORDS being paid?! This is a disgrace. I know how about we have #45 and his wife and kids live there for a month. Let’s see how fast theses places get fixed/cleaned up.

    Like (6)
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  • Hillary
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Privatization never makes anything better. It always makes things worse.

    Like (5)
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  • Stewart
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    I can attest personally to the fact that there is no honor among private sector housing companies who are overpaid by the DOD. I have seen military spouses charged thousands of dollars to replace appliances that weren’t broken while their spouse is deployed, left without heat for weeks because maintenance is too busy, and holiday break ins because the only security in housing is Joe Blow who makes 12 dollars an hour and comes to worked blazed everyday. Put the responsibility of housing back into the military’s hands, I promise you we do a much better job!!!

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  • CatherineCampbell
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    No one should live under those conditions especially those people who are putting their lives on the line for their country.

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  • Rick
    Voted Yes
    02/15/2019
    ···

    Our government must do a far better job monitoring how money is paid to outside sources, demand quality and value for that money, and above all quickly take appropriate actions when standards are not met. Gouging the government (tax payer money) has been a common practice since I can remember and it must be stopped.

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  • samiam6
    Voted Yes
    02/16/2019
    ···

    Privatizing is simply redirecting tax dollars into the hands of big business. Except in the case of prisons where it is also slave labor.

    Like (3)
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