US Military Families Living in Uninhabitable Homes?
US Senators Hit Back
By: Cristal M Clark
So I am over at my usual spot today for lunch getting my usual quad shot americano and another customer strikes up a conversation with me about the housing conditions for our nation’s military. I had no idea that our service men and women and their families are being forced to live in absolutely horrible conditions in some cases, which is not a knock against the military at all, it was just simply shocking to me to hear of this.
I mean why would we not be taking care of our military and their families while the service men and women were actively enlisted and on duty? I found the news very upsetting and disheartening to say the least.
A recent survey, conducted by the nonpartisan Military Family Advisory Network, reported that 16% percent of respondents had a positive view of their base housing while an alarming 55% had a negative one. Families reported unsafe conditions that included lead-based paint, rampant mold, exposed asbestos, faulty electrical wiring, vermin infestations and gas leaks.
That is absolutely ludicrous. We condemn housing for private citizens for lesser infractions yet we just plop our service men and women with their families into uninhabitable housing?
This is unbelievable.
U.S. Senators are jumping into action on this and rightfully so. The last thing you want anyone in the military to have to worry about as they head into any hostile situation is his or her family living in an uninhabitable home where let’s say a newborn could die due to lead, mold or the disease spread by a rodent.
Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, told executives from five of the largest private companies that operate military housing; “The testimony suggests the system is broken, the problems were obvious to military families, but they weren’t obvious to you.”
Let me take a moment to fact check Senator Reed here, the problems were obvious to those private companies, they simply made the choice to ignore them because it’s easier to pocket the money they are getting from the very contracts the military is giving them and that, could be proven with the proper investigation.
Here is just a little word to the wise– every contractor, no matter what industry they are in, loves getting government contracts, especially military ones because they have virtually zero oversight. They overcharge, do shoddy work and are rarely held accountable in the end. It is well known and established within the private sector, the government including the military is easy to take advantage of should that organization land a highly coveted government contract.
Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma and the Committee’s chairman, pledged to make military housing reform the subject of further Senate hearings and said Congress must halt the problems.
“We will fix this, today’s hearing is just the beginning.”
Arizona Republican Martha McSally, who happens to be an Air Force Veteran; “I’m infuriated by what I’m hearing today they left you hanging, they put you in harm’s way.”
Allowing families to withhold their government rent stipends from base landlords when conditions warrant the action.
Re-negotiating scores of DOD housing contracts with private real estate firms.
Letting local building code enforcement officers onto federal bases to inspect housing, as they do in civilian settings.
Slashing millions in management or incentive fees private contractors receive.
Potentially ordering military branches to take ownership of the maintenance and construction problems plaguing swaths of their housing.
Companies whose executives testified Wednesday admitted problems exist, and said they’re pursuing remedies, now that they got caught red handed so to speak. The worst part is that these families have suffered through this for some time now and we are just now finding out.
Stop taking advantage of our service men and women and their families.
Cristal M Clark