US senators, including Kaine and Warner, ask for update on military housing reforms after deadline not met

Washington-DC

(WAVY) — It’s been five months since the Department of Defense’s timeline finished for implementing 15 of 18 tenants’ rights for families living in military housing.

However, as of Oct. 1, only 14 of those 18 rights have been put into place, according to lawmakers.

That prompted Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), TIm Kaine (D-Va.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.) to request an update from the DoD on the planned housing reforms.

The reforms are to the Military Housing Privatization Initiative. The senators pushed for those changes in the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act.

The changes were made to increase oversight and accountability for the short-comings of privatized military housing after health, safety and environmental hazards were found in private military housing.

The Tenant Bill of Rights was released Feb. 25, 2020 with a goal of implementing at least 15 of those by May 1, 2020. However, only 14 have happened.

The unresolved issues involve the withholding of the BAH, a dispute resolution mechanism, work history records and a standard lease.

“From the inception of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative in 1996, the Department of Defense and frankly, Congress, placed far too much trust in the private companies implementing the program. The agreements made, including 50-year leases between these companies and the military services, stacked the deck against servicemembers and their families,” wrote the Senators. “The companies frequently failed to properly address hazards and to meet their fundamental obligations to servicemembers and their families to provide safe, healthy and high-quality housing. The Department of Defense also did not conduct sufficient oversight of the housing within their purview, and dismissed legitimate and pervasive concerns of servicemembers and their family members regarding their housing.”

Click here to read the full letter. 


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