***Watch SASC Joint Subcommittee Hearing Video HERE***
Washington, DC – At a Senate Armed Services Joint Subcommittee on Personnel and Readiness and Management Support hearing, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Personnel, questioned leaders of private housing companies on their failure to provide safe living conditions and meet maintenance needs in the homes of military families across the country. According to a recent survey, more than half of military families living in private housing had a “negative or very negative experience.” Military families reported serious issues such as toxic mold, lead paint, and pest infestation in their homes, which have resulted in health problems for military children.
“Let me begin by reiterating how frustrated I am by the experiences of the families we have heard from today who live in houses under the management of your companies,” Gillibrand said to the housing executives testifying at the SASC hearing. “In choosing to participate in the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, your companies didn’t just land another real estate deal – you assumed responsibility for the safety, health, and wellbeing of military families who make incredible sacrifices each and every day in support of our national defense…In so many of the stories we’ve heard today from military families, the maintenance procedures you’ve put in place have failed to ensure quality in housing units.”
Below are the questions that Senator Gillibrand asked private housing executives during the hearing:
- What percentage of military families do you believe deserve to live in “excellent” on-base housing?
- How many military children deserve to be exposed to mold, lead, or other health hazards as a consequence of living in privatized housing units?
- Do you think it’s easier or harder for a service member to focus on their military duties while also worrying about the health and safety of their families?
- Do you expect your staff working on installations as technicians to be capable of both remediating work orders and showing genuine concern for the families impacted?
- How many contactors or service technicians have each of your companies fired for unsatisfactory performance in completing work orders in military housing?