PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side has shared horror stories from private military housing providers for more than a decade. Stories of families living in houses with mold, leaking roofs and rodents.

Now, Senator Tim Kaine (D) Virginia is calling on the Department of Defense to do more for military families.

“Look, the military dropped the ball on this,” he told WAVY.

Senator Kaine and Senator Mark Warner (D) Virginia sent a letter to the DOD and military branches asking them to step up to better support service members and their families.

“We’re making progress, but we’re still not there,” Kaine said during a call with reporters on Tuesday. Conditions in military housing are improving, he said.

Congress passed legislation in 2020 which included a “Tenant Bill of Rights” and more accountability on the private providers. However, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, there are still gaps in guidance and training on these reforms.

The GAO says in order to give families more leverage when dealing with unsafe or poor housing conditions they need three things:

  • More detailed guidance on the filing a formal dispute
  • Improved guidance on the role of tenant advocates
  • Better oversight of the condition of private housing units.

10 On Your Side reached out to the Navy and DOD. The DOD responded via email:

“As a matter of policy we do not comment on congressional correspondence.”

Kaine, who is a member of the Armed Services Committee, vowed to keep pushing the matter until military housing is fixed, saying, “Sometimes when you’re turning around a situation that has become a disaster, it doesn’t turn around overnight.”