WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers want to confront the dangerous conditions that some military families say they have been living in. A new bill aims to provide more oversight of privatized military housing and prevent abuses.
Kate Needham with Armed Forces Housing Advocates fights for military families plagued by unsafe living conditions including toxic mold, water leaks, and hazardous damage.
“It’s quite frankly a national security issue. We have to have a safe place for our military service members and their families so they can focus on operations of protecting our country,” Needham said.
A recent Senate investigation led by Senators Jon Ossoff and Ron Johnson found a pattern of unsafe issues in privatized military homes.
“Our servicemembers’ military families already make huge sacrifices. They should not have to sacrifice a safe home,” Ossoff said.
Now Senator Ossoff and advocates like Needham are part of a push to pass legislation to create a military housing council to address the problems.
“We can’t keep screaming into the void. So this is going to give families a really black-and-white solution, hopefully to what’s been going on,” Needham said.
The council would be made up of service members and housing experts that would gather complaints, track abuses, and report findings to Congress and the Defense Department.
“Transparency and oversight are critical,” Ossoff said. “A lack of accountability has been one of the key drivers of this crisis.”
The legislation has support from both parties.
“This is a nonpartisan piece of legislation in our opinion. This is simply to protect military servicemembers and their families,” Needham said. “Military families aren’t asking for more than what civilian families have. They just want to be treated equitably and with respect.”