Fort Hood: Officials make house calls to address concerns
Top leaders of the U.S. military services are apologizing for allowing sub-standard living conditions in military housing.
Some of those problems like mold, lead paint and infestations hit close to home.
At Fort Hood where the company Lend Lease manages more than 5,000 homes, residents complain of ignored work orders, lead paint, and roaches.
One resident said she’s battled leaks, mold, and mice while suffering from asthma attacks.
"This is an effort that probably does not get the full attention it deserves, but we are improving on that every day," says Lt. Col.James Crane.
Reporters were invited to see the process of housing checks during which residents first had to sign consent forms.
Reporters were asked to wait outside as they completed a checklist of housing concerns.
"Overall, very minor issues and concerns,” Crane said.
“Most of our residents have been very happy with their community housing."
Out of 800 barracks and 600 houses in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, only around 50 percent of residents have answered the door to give that feedback.
Officials say they will continue making house calls until that number reaches 100 percent.
"We keep up with the work orders,” says Mack Quinney of Lend Lease.
“We had a 98 to 99 percent completion rate based on the time frame," he adds referring to routine data checks he says are done monthly.
He says housing problems aren't as widespread as they seem, but the company of around 200 workers is adding staffing and has plans to hold regular town halls.
When it comes to work orders Lend Lease hasn’t yet handled, he says, “it could have been mis-ccoded or not coded at all and dropped at that level.”
“We do over 60,000 work orders a year, so it's inevitable that we are going to miss a few, and some will fall through the cracks."
Michael Graves who lives in one of the post's newer villages says he's only had to request a dishwasher repair and says that was done quickly.
"I think things are a lot better now than they were back in the day."
He says it was harder to get repairs done before the work was contracted out in 2001.
He admits that he may have fewer problems because he is in a newer unit, but believes the main issue with housing is communication.
“The squeaky wheel gets the oil- I guess all you have to do is say something, they'll come out and fix it.”
Nationwide surveys done by the Military Family Advisory Network report more than half of residents who responded to the nonprofit had a negative or very negative experience with military housing.
Since the families living in these conditions can't withhold rent, they're currently depending on the promises of military leaders to make their homes safe.
WASHINGTON (AP)--The leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps testified before Congress on Thursday on substandard housing, failures in military oversight and concern among families that they will face retaliation for reporting problems that in some cases endanger their health.
The issues include lead poisoning hazards, mold and pest infestations.
They are in housing built and maintained on military bases by private contractors who are accused of providing inadequate repairs.
Army Secretary Mark Esper told the Senate Armed Services Committee his service had failed to properly supervise the housing issues and vowed to fully investigate.