Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the hearing held today by the Senate Armed Services Committee on the problems with privatized military housing and steps the armed services are taking to address them:
“Today’s Armed Services Committee hearing showed that too many military families continue to live in dangerous conditions with little recourse to fix the problems. Our bill, which has been included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, would help address this problem.
“Military leaders have made commendable efforts to address the shortfalls of privatized housing, but today’s hearing is proof that more needs to be done legislatively to address the problem.
“The Senate should pass our bill and empower military families and leaders to hold these private contractors accountable when they fail to provide clean, safe housing to our men and women in uniform.”
Senator Feinstein introduced the Ensuring Safe Housing for our Military Act earlier this year with Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.). The legislation was included in the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
A recent survey conducted by the Military Family Advisory Network showed that more than 55 percent of respondents had a negative or very negative experience with privatized military housing.
Key reforms include:
- Withholding basic allowance for housing payments to private housing contractors if a service member and contractor are in dispute over housing conditions.
- Withholding incentive fees to contractors if they fail to remedy health or environmental hazards.
- Requiring contractors to pay for relocations costs if a service member must temporarily leave their home due to an environmental or health hazard.
- Requiring contractors to provide service members access to their electronic work order systems so that tenants can track the progress of their requests.
- Requiring the development of common credentials across the military for health and safety inspectors.