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Complaints of mold and poor maintenance at Hampton Roads military housing

Emily Rizzo, a Navy wife, spotted something wrong with the stairs in her family’s privatized military townhouse. Then she fell down them and broke her right foot.

Rizzo contacted maintenance, who schedule appointments for vendors to look at the stairs and repair them, but as those appointments never came to fruition, she decided to turn to the Internet for help. The stairs were uneven, Rizzo wrote in her 1-star Google review of her Wadsworth Shores home near the Naval Air Station Oceana, because the padding under the carpet didn’t extend all the way to the edge, which created a lip.

“A vendor was supposed to come by last Thursday but they were a no show,” she wrote in her review. “It’s now Tuesday and the vendor still hasn’t showed. I’ve called the office at least five times this morning with no answer. I am fed up.”

Rizzo isn’t the only one complaining about the conditions in her military housing. Hers was just one of the injuries in a long list of complaints and frustrations that have been shared by Hampton Roads military families. The families say that they have repeatedly reported mold issues, vermin, and problems with water intrusion. They also say that they have made several requests for service to the companies that manage the privatized housing, but their complaints have gotten them nowhere.

“You feel like you’re being bullied, honestly,” Savannah Beagles, a Navy spouse who resides in Lincoln Military Housing in Sandpiper Crescent, said.

After two high-profile Senate hearings, military leaders and lawmakers promise that reforms for military housing are in the works and on their way. Proposals include the ability to withhold basic allowances for housing if the issues aren’t repaired, a standardized lease that covers all services, a tenants’ “bill of rights”, and renegotiating long-term contracts with housing providers.

Virginia Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine are among the lead sponsors of legislation for several reforms for military housing. After Kaine met with military families in Norfolk, he said, “I got an earful.”

Senator James Inhofe, chairman of Senate Armed Services, says that the problem extends beyond eradicating mold and fixing holes in the walls. “If we lose the trust of the military families, we risk losing the next generation of service members”, he said.

Beagles say that her family’s military housing is riddled with mold growth. Recently, when workers removed a closet door because Beagles suspected mold was growing on it, she was told by workers that there wasn’t any mold. Currently, they are tearing out all of the carpeting and replacing it with vinyl flooring. A full-time nursing student, she said that her grades have suffered severely while she has been dealing with the issues in her house. She also said that she has suffered a number of sinus infections and other health issues, such as a rash, since she moved in.

Mold Inspection & Testing Virginia Beach has performed numerous mold assessments in Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas. We strongly recommend the owners of privately owned military housing schedule routine mold tests to ensure the safety of service members and their families. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 757.541.2991.

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