A new investigative report by Reuters chronicles the plight of 100 military families struggling simultaneously with hazards such as rodents and mold in their on-base housing as well as with their housing managers to address the problem. In some of the disputes, the families paid contractors out of their own pocket to deal with the issues or moved off base at their own expense. The slow response from the landlords is a result of the limited authority residents and installation leaders have to force housing managers to resolve complaints about health hazards, according to the story.
One family living on Camp Pendleton, Calif., urged the housing manager to investigate after a doctor suspected mold was causing their child’s respiratory illness. After no action was taken for more than a year, the base’s commanding general stepped in and ordered the property owner to remediate the family’s belongings at no cost to the residents.
“When families have concerns or problems, there is a clear process for escalating complaints to our company and other private partners, housing officers in the military, and ultimately the base command,” Lincoln Military Housing, which owns most of the housing on Pendleton, said in a statement to Marine Corps Times. “Our goal and responsibility ― and that of the military ― is to ensure military families have safe, secure and quality housing and we both take that responsibility very seriously.”
Reuters photo by Mike Blake