JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. -- Weeks after Q13 shared stories of families at JBLM who say they were forced to move out because of black mold, a new report from the Army Inspector General says families who reported bad living conditions felt they faced retaliation for coming forward.
Leaders at JBLM tell Q13 News that housing issues on base are a top priority for them.
The complaints include lead paint and rat problems in the homes, but the No. 1 complaint is black mold.
We have spoken with several moms at JBLM over the past few months who tell us black mold has sickened their children and forced them to move into hotels.
“My kids have been sick nonstop since we moved in in February of 2018,” said Chelsea Johnson.
Kelsey White says the black mold in her home was causing her child to have seizures.
“After meeting with a neurologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, they did confirm it was black mold exposure, and since being in a hotel my son hasn’t had a single seizure,” White said.
Those moms started a Facebook page about housing problems on-base. That page now has more than 900 members, all telling similar stories.
But many say when they went to Lincoln Military Housing, the private management company handling housing at JBLM, their complaints fell on deaf ears.
Lincoln Military Housing is paying for the temporary accommodations, but released a statement saying in part that those families moved out voluntarily and it wasn’t because of any health or safety issues.
The Army says it has already begun making improvements, but says the new IG report gives more guidelines on what needs to be done to fix a housing crisis at many of its bases, including at JBLM.
The IG recommends that the Army create a tenants’ bill of rights and educate military families on the local chain of command to elevate housing concerns.
You can read the full report here.