Mold and vermin: Military housing problems in the spotlight — again

The Pentagon is scrambling to assess conditions at military housing nationwide, but complaints about mold, vermin and other troubles aren’t new to military families in Hampton Roads.

Concerns in the region have been documented for years. The Navy enacted reforms after mold incidents across the region several years ago. Separately, mold problems in Navy housing have triggered lawsuits.

Now the Defense Department has mounted a full-court press at bases around the country. An investigative series by Reuters documented squalid conditions and a non-partisan survey caught the attention of Congress. Last month, a marathon Senate hearing featured military spouses who described black mold, termites falling from light fixtures and housing providers that failed to respond.

Crystal Cornwall, a Marine spouse, broke down in tears as she told of problems at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. “I wouldn’t recommend my own children join the service and my husband’s been a Marine for 12 years,” she said.

Housing companies and military leaders told senators they would do a better job.

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Author: Dian Welle