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Navy Works Through Deadlines To Address Problems With Military Housing

The complex in San Diego, pictured in this undated photo, is part of 9,100 pr...

Credit: Defense of Department

Above: The complex in San Diego, pictured in this undated photo, is part of 9,100 private military housing units operated for the Navy.

The Navy has set deadlines to respond to complaints from people living in private military housing.

At the beginning of April, the Navy wrapped-up a series of public meetings with families who live in private military housing.

“So what we’re hearing is there are some issues with general maintenance, some potential pest infestations in some numbers and people are having issues with their neighbors,” said Caitlin Rose Ostomel, director of public affairs for Navy Region Southwest. “And we have seen there is a perception that the Navy is not as involved as we should be.”

Across the country, there have been allegations of mold and tenants receiving a slow response from private contractors, which run most of military housing. Congress is looking at changes in the law to grant tenants additional rights under their housing contracts.

“I don’t think the light will come on,” said Sarah Lynne Kline, spokesperson Military Housing Advocacy Network. “It’s like a dimmer switch. It will slowly start getting brighter as the months go on.”

Only 94 San Diego households requested an inspection by their commanders by the April 15 deadline. The Navy is following up with a special tenant survey, which is due April 30, said Ostomel.

“At any time a sailor can reach out to their command and say 'Hey, I’m having trouble with my housing office, I’m not getting the service I think I should get.' The chain of command is there to support the sailor.”

The Navy says it has about 9,100 private military housing units in San Diego — the vast majority are in neighborhoods outside one of the area’s Navy bases, which can make the situation more complicated for tenants used to living on base.

After Congress began holding hearings, the Navy and other branches of the military began reaching out to families in private military housing.

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