Imagine a life where you move every three years.
Uprooting your family from one side of the country to another.
Everything you have obtained in your life is shoved into boxes marked with different colored stickers.
You are essentially starting from scratch somewhere new.
It never gets any easier making a new strange place home.
The goal of comfort and settling in is on you, as your spouse has to get back into the grind of work and leadership.
Gaining a new role and preparing for another deployment.
Your family is offered a cute little single-family home.
This will work nicely with your family of five. It sits just a few miles from your spouse’s office.
The on-post schools are great compared to the ones offered in the tiny town connected to post. Plus, there is nothing better than your kids being surrounded by other military children. They all have the inevitable in common.
You are situated on a quiet little street that has rows of homes with American flags. You can feel the pride as you make your way down the road! You take in a nice deep breath of relief knowing that this will soon be home, even if it is just for a little while.
Remember that feeling! The one you have where you think that the chaos is over!
As months go by you find your home has its share of issues.
This is your seventh move, so you have had experience with those normal privatized housing problems of running toilets, cheap pealing cabinets, and leaky appliances.
But this different!
Different in that the issues you are facing are just like the rumors you have heard circulating.
Those rumors of lead poisoning, and obscene amounts of mold growing behind the walls.
The things you thought only happened at random and the chances were slim for you.
Your three children have had consistent cold symptoms for months, and you have not been able to kick this strange rash that randomly covers your neck and chest.
Your family after a few short months has become dependent upon two types of inhalers, and frequent doctor visits. You speak with your neighbors and the truth spills out!
The water intrusion two tenants before you were fighting. The contestant stench of mildew surrounding the HVAC room that would pour out of each vent into the home.
The talk of bleach sprays and scrubs to fight the extensive “musky” smell and “fingerprints” that littered the walls.
Then the layers of paint that they used to conveniently cover it up before you moved in.
You are speechless!
Your family has lived this lifestyle for close to 17 years. You know that lifestyle where the spouse leaves their family to fight in a war overseas for close to a year at a time, over and over again.
The last thing to go through your mind when you’re constantly uprooted is the safety of the home you live in. Not only is your spouse away fighting, but here you are holding down the mold-filled Homefront. Anchoring down for the fight of your family’s health.
That has become a grim reality for thousands of military families spread out around the world.
Unanswered questions and pleas for help fill support group pages. Littered with thousands of photos showing everything from rashes on toddlers, to mold growing underneath kitchen floors and in HVAC units.
Naming military installations all around the world from Fort Belvoir, and Camp Pendleton to Lackland and Okinawa.
There is not a military installation untouched by the privatized housing epidemic.
The epidemic of knowingly allowing unqualified individuals to take care of mold remediation. “Fixing” the issues and moving in a new family starting that cycle all over!
Where does it end?
Finding your voice and trying to hold them accountable only takes you so far.
The greed, the cheapness, and the overall lack of compassion blind them from the true reality these families are facing!
Who should be the one to determine what living conditions are acceptable on a moral level?
Who is going to make sure our military families are being heard? Where is the accountability?
Until these things are answered more and more military families will continue to reach out for support.
With not only the hope of healing their family but making sure they win the battle within their home.