Senators to DoD: Fix your dirty, nasty housing

Matt Saintsing
November 06, 2018 - 2:46 pm

Photo by Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/U.S. Marine Corps

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Both U.S. Senators representing California are urging the Pentagon to improve housing conditions at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, following a bombshell Reuters report describing mold, rodent infestation, leaks, and other major housing issues. 

“Members of our military and their families sacrifice greatly to keep our nation safe, and the very least we can do in return is ensure their housing is safe and sanitary," Sens. Kamala Harris and Diane Feinstein wrote in the letter. 

“We urge Lincoln Military Housing to work with the Department of Defense (DOD) to immediately resolve the issues identified in these reports.” 

Lincoln Family Housing oversees the majority of Camp Pendleton’s housing, and their president, Jarl Bliss, called out Reuters accusing the report of multiple inaccuracies that unfairly paint the company in a bad light. 

"Contrary to what the story would lead a reader to believe, we do not profit by skimping on service,” Bliss said in a statement. “To the contrary, we are most successful when we have satisfied residents who recommend LHM housing to other military families.” 

The Reuters investigation published Nov. 1 lays out just how sordid living on Camp Pendleton can be for Marines and their family members. Reuters outlines cockroach infestations, water leaking from smoke detectors, toxic mold, mushroom blooms, and even mice excrement. 

“All of these conditions can create serious and costly health issues for the parents and children inhabiting these homes,” wrote the senators. “With more than 7,000 family housing at Camp Pendleton, the potential impact to families is immense and alarming.” 

To make matters worse, tenants on military installations have fewer rights than their civilian counterparts. The senators note that if a service member is living off base, “they are allowed to withhold rent for unresolved repairs, sue their landlord, or move without notice.” 

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