These letters follow troubling reports revealing that private military housing providers at multiple installations may not be complying with federal laws that protect Americans with disabilities.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Subcommittee on Personnel, sent letters to top executives at six major private military housing companies requesting information about the on-base housing units they developed and manage to determine whether military families are being denied access to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant housing.
“Military families across the nation are all too familiar with private military housing providers falling short of their obligations to ensure safe and livable housing conditions,” said Senator Tillis. “These companies must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide accommodations to military families who need and deserve them. While I’m proud of the bipartisan action we’ve taken to address the issues facing military housing over the past few years, it’s clear more work needs to be done. Congress needs to hold providers accountable when they fail to secure safe housing for our servicemembers and their families.”
In July 2020, the Military Housing Advocacy Network (MHAN), a nonprofit organization that advocates for military families to make sure that they have access to safe and appropriate conditions in on-base, privatized housing, released findings from a survey of military families with disabilities revealing that private military housing companies that have partnered with the Department of Defense (DoD) do not appear to be following federal laws that protect persons with disabilities.
The DoD's Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) provides 137,000 military families with special needs with necessary services and support throughout the United States and at DoD installations worldwide, including access to ADA housing and/or reasonable accommodations to the home for disabled persons. A survey of these families by MHAN revealed that they faced significant barriers to acquiring their housing; some never received these homes or accommodations, and many waited exceptionally long periods of time before their needs were approved or met. Some said their requests for accommodations were challenged by housing management.
Read full letter here.