WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – “I’m sorry” was the message from a panel of military housing providers.
“We lost their trust, we’re sorry and we want to get it right,” John Ehle, President of Hunt Military Communities said Thursday.
In the second hearing to tackle the problems this week, lawmakers worked to expose what they call a broken system.
“This is a systemic problem and one that you have to fix and you have a lot of work to do to fix it,” Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK) added.
Members of this House Armed Services subcommittee pressed representatives from five privatized military housing providers for answers.
The lawmakers said toxic mold, safety hazards and falsified maintenance records are only part of the problem.
“I don’t think our base commanders and the DOD took this seriously enough,” Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) said.
Witnesses tried to highlight improvements but Georgia Congressman Austin Scott said more needs to be done.
“We’re going to have to take action on this and so we are going to create a better contract for our soldiers and make sure our soldiers are better-taken care of.”
Inside the hearing room, Republicans and Democrats appeared largely united, with both sides wanting to hold whoever’s responsible accountable.
South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) said a new 1-800 number for military families could provide relief.
He said, “from that, we’ll be able to determine how quickly the corrections are made because we want the best for our military families.”
But Wilson promises the pressure is going to stay on these companies.
“So that they follow through on their commitments to be accountable to military families.”
The committee plans to follow up on this issue early next year.