WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote today to the Secretaries of the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force, asking for detailed information regarding the military’s contracts with private companies to provide on-base housing for military families in Virginia. Prompted by pervasive allegations of health hazards – including lead poisoning, cockroaches, mice, mold blooms and water leaks – the Senators raised concerns about existing contracts with several private companies that manage thousands of family housing units at military bases across Virginia, and asked each of the services to provide copies of any existing policies and operating procedures meant to hold companies accountable for health and safety failures.
“Military families make great sacrifices for our nation and they deserve housing that is safe and healthy,” said the Senators. “It is crucial that military leaders prioritize the well-being of military families and hold private housing companies accountable for anyhealth hazards or issues.”
The specific contracts and locations for which the Senators requested information include:
- Lincoln Military Housing, a residential real estate management company that provides 36,000 housing units for military families nationwide, including 5,700 units for Navy and Marine Corps servicemembers stationed at Dahlgren, Wallops, Quantico, and throughout Hampton Roads;
- Balfour Beatty Communities, Clark Realty Capital and Hunt Military Communities, which manage military homes for families stationed at Fort Belvoir, Fort Story, Fort Eustis, and Fort Lee; and
- Hunt Military Communities, which manages approximately 1,430 units at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
In letters addressed to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, the Senators asked for:
- Copies of housing contracts with private companies;
- Copies of any service- or department-level guidance and policy documents that relate directly to contracting for on-base privatized housing;
- Any information about any cure notices that may have been sent to contractors regarding failures to adhere to contractual obligations at Virginia installations; and
- Copies of standard operating procedures to responding to and rectifying problems in government-owned housing, such as mold, mildew, lead paint, and other habitability, safety, and health complaints in government-owned housing.
This is not the first time that Sens. Warner and Kaine have taken actions to address concerns with military housing conditions. In August of 2018, both Senators pressed Secretary Esper to address lead poisoning concerns at a number of Army installations, including Fort Belvoir. Additionally, last November, Sen. Warner asked the Department of Defense to provide a detailed briefing outlining the Defense Department’s plan to ensure the safety of military families residing in both public and private housing. He alsomet with Secretary Esper earlier this month to emphasize the importance of prioritizing improvements to military housing conditions. In the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Kaine has called on military leaders and private companies charged with maintaining housing to work together to quickly address these problems.