TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Valerie Ryan moved into government assigned housing at MacDill Air Force base when her husband was deployed overseas for a year.
“At the time we really couldn’t afford we really couldn’t afford to live off base,” said Ryan.
She had heard about mold issues with housing at MacDill, but when she first saw her new home she didn’t notice any problems.
“When I did the walkthrough of my home, everything seemed great, brand new carpets, nothing stood out to me that said, hey this is alarming,” said Ryan.
That was in April of 2020, by June things had changed.
“I moved in in April and it wasn’t until June that I realized my living room carpet floor was wet,” said Ryan.
She notified property managers and they sent someone out to check and then she had to move out of the home so the management company could repair damage and mold issues inside.
“It took them three weeks of bringing in a blower, ripping up my carpet, and a dehumidifier to realize that my A.C. was backing up into my home because it was clogged,” said Ryan.
She’s not the only one who’s experienced new problems with base housing at MacDill.
Casey McCurry lived in a home near Ryan’s and says the mold was so bad it impacted her children’s health.
“Our middle daughter who was perfectly healthy got pneumonia two weeks prior to us moving out. Our son who has Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy started having more seizures and a different type of seizure and then our oldest who has asthma already started having nose bleeds every single day,” said McCurry.
Tampa Attorney Natalie Khawam has filed a lawsuit against the private company that manages the government housing.
“They take millions and millions of dollars from our taxpayers under these DOD contracts, but they don’t fulfill the services that they were paid to do,” said Khawam.
A federal judge recently ruled the lawsuit against the private management company can go forward.
“You have a lot of families that are sick, you see a lot of these sick homes. I go in them and I can smell the mold, it’s horrific,” said Khawam.
She says she hopes the lawsuit will recover funds and medical expenses the families have spent as a result of the mold issues.
“These conditions are so deplorable, they are so awful that there is a way to fix it, it’s called following the law,” said Khawam.
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