TAMPA, Fla. - Three months after non-profit Military Family Advisory Network published a report on the living conditions of families in privatized military housing, the group has released a more in-depth analysis of its findings, shedding light on the most frequently cited problems base-by-base.
In January and February 2019, MFAN surveyed 16,779 families living in privatized military housing at more than 100 bases across the country. At Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base, 105 people were surveyed. The survey found that 60 percent of them complained about maintenance, repairs or remediation issues. 54 percent of respondents reported mold as an issue.
Of those surveyed, only eight of them responded with a positive view of privatized base housing. Sixty-three of them showed a negative view while the remainder of respondents fell somewhere in the middle. MacDill received an overall satisfaction score of 2.7, which is considered negative on the 1-5 scale used by surveyors.
In March, ahead of a visit from then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Traci Lenz spoke with FOX 13 about the mold that forced her family to move off base out of fear for her family’s health. It was after having her concerns dismissed by the private housing company that Lenz hired her own licensed mold inspector.
"They found 23 different types of mold in our home, at levels unfit for occupancy” Lenz said. “And it was in the air-handlers. So, unfortunately it was spread throughout the home airborne, but it wasn't where we could have been keeping up with it, or even have known."
The Armed Forces began privatizing base housing for military families in 1996. The Department of Defense said it could not discuss the survey but expressed confidence that privatizing housing was the right thing to do. However, a spokeswoman for the department admitted there has been a lapse in oversight of the program.
The findings of MFAN's research have been presented to Congress as some lawmakers push for new legislation aimed at improving military housing.