NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) wanted answers, but didn’t get them in the controversy over private military housing. He held a follow up meeting with families Thursday morning at Slover Library in Norfolk, six weeks after a similar meeting in Newport News.
This time, Warner invited CEO of Lincoln Military Housing Jarl Bliss and Commanding Officer of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic RADM Charles “Chip” Rock. Warner was expecting specifics and a timeline to improve private housing conditions.
“They knew this meeting was coming, and they didn’t have better answers,” Warner said.
The families wanted a full-throated apology from Bliss. Instead, it was more conditional.
“These issues are very complicated. We’ve worked very hard at them to try and correct the situations but certainly there are situations where we should and do apologize,” Bliss said.
Many of the families say their biggest problem has been mold. Savannah Beagles lives with her Navy husband at Sandpiper Crescent, a Lincoln Community adjacent to JEB Little Creek. She says mold contaminated her family’s furniture and bedding.
“So I’m supposed to move into a new house and sleep on the floor, because of your company’s negligence?” she asked of Bliss. “My whole life has been wrecked since I moved in with Lincoln.”
Warner asked Bliss about pictures of mold the families have shared. He says the relationship between command and Lincoln has become “too buddy-buddy” and they don’t want to face the realities of mold in military homes.
“I would challenge you sir, when you look at these pictures, how anybody in their right mind could call the pictures anything but mold.”
Bliss says Lincoln has hired a third-party independent mold expert to audit the company’s policies and procedures.
“We’re working with DoD and our Navy partners to put policies in place to hopefully prevent this from occurring again.”
Other families we have spoken with in the past say they like their Lincoln housing. Lincoln says its occupancy rate is over 95% both nationwide and in Hampton Roads.
Warner says he wants another progress meeting in about six weeks.