WASHINGTON – Pests, mold and sewage leaks. Those are just some of the problems facing some military families on bases throughout the country.
Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday about the problems spanning across all branches of the military.
The report found cases of service members and their families living with lead-based paint and rodents on military bases. It says many of those military families didn’t always know who to turn to when faced with these problems.
There are around 134,000 housing units worldwide on U.S. military bases for service members and their families.
Almost all of them are maintained by private owners and a new report found some of them haven’t been properly maintaining the homes.
“Some project owners have reportedly disregarded maintenance requests, misrepresented timelines, performed partial repairs,” said U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett.
The Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday about housing units with mold and pests and other problems.
Military families at joint base Lewis-McChord in Washington state have complained of health problems.
Chelsea Johnson says her doctor blames it on the mold at her home on the base.
“My entire family and I have been very sick,” Johnson said. “I’m disgusted. My husband’s out fighting for our country, spending months upon end away from his family, and coming home to a home that’s not even livable. How is that even fair?”
Military officials said there are efforts to try to fix the problems.
That includes developing a resident’s bill of rights and a common tenant lease.
They’re also developing a dispute process that would allow residents to voice concerns about housing problems to a neutral party.
But some lawmakers say that’s not enough, calling for criminal prosecution against the private owners.
The report also calls for better communication between the Department of Defense and military families living on bases, so they know how to get help with housing issues.
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