Personnel chiefs blame unsafe base housing on leadership failures
Stars and Stripes
By TOM PHILPOTT Special to Stars and Stripes
Published: February 28, 2019
Three-star personnel chiefs and senior non-commissioned officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps testified Wednesday that unsafe and sometimes scandalous conditions of base housing units, which has sparked waves of complaints from military families, can largely be blamed on leadership failures.
Urgent reforms are underway, they contend, after military leaders and private partnership contractors that operate on-base housing analyzed failings which harmed the health of, and lowered quality of life for, some military families.
Commands across the military had not been attentive enough to the performance of housing contractors who, under a 1997 Military Housing Privatization Initiative, became responsible for construction of new housing and refurbishing legacy units on base. Under long-term contracts, companies profit from maintaining, managing and renting to military tenants who in turn forfeit their monthly Basic Allowance for Housing and sometimes even pay a little more.
Increasingly dissatisfied military families say maintenance problems and health hazards from leaky roofs or pipes, dangerous mold, problem-plagued heating or air conditioning systems, high radon readings or infestations of bugs and rodents have gone unaddressed or resulted in only temporary fixes to await new renters.
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But...they want to take money from their budget to build a wall instead of FIX THE PLACES WHERE THEY MAKE TROOPS AND FAMILIES LIVE?