Your home is supposed to be a place you go to be safe. It’s where you go after a rough day at work to unwind, put the stresses of the day behind you and spend time with those you love most. For many military families, “home” is becoming a mold-infested, toxic danger they can’t escape. Some mothers report going to the emergency room 50 times for themselves and their children before discovering the likely cause of their bewildering symptoms: toxic mold.
Lucky to Be Alive
A CNN report outlined the dangers faced by those unfortunate enough to live in Lincoln Military Housing (LMH) in Virginia. Shelly Federico is one military housing resident who says she could have died if not for her independent efforts to find the cause of her fatigue, headaches and stomach ailments. In an interview with CNN, Federico said, “I was actually told by a remediator, ‘You’re very lucky that you found it when you did. If you would have continued to live this way, this whole time not knowing, you would probably be dead.'” When the housing company refused to test her home for mold, Shelly paid for her own test, showing a mold count of 33,000. An acceptable count would have been zero, she told reporters.
Another woman repeatedly sought help from doctors for her symptoms, which doctors blamed on stress and anxiety…until they found lesions on her brain. She believes her illness came from the toxic mold environment in her home.
Only now is this problem, affecting hundreds of our military’s families, getting the attention it deserves. A good deal of credit for this should go to NewsChannel 3 for their Taking Action report on the problem. According to the news station, hundreds of families approached reporters about life-threatening living conditions in housing run by the private firm, Lincoln Military Housing.
Congressman Defends the Safety and Health of Military Families
Congressman Scott Rigell, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, saw some of these reports and realized that someone had to take action. America’s military families deserve proper respect and dignity, and that includes safe housing. Introducing the Military Housing Oversight and Accountability Act is the first step in making that happen. His goal is to include it in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, making it part of the military budget. We’ll know soon if he was successful. If it works, we may see the new rules take effect by October.
Although the housing secretaries for the military have strong authority over the performance of the contractors that build new housing, they can’t do much when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep. LMH has set itself up so it isn’t accountable the way a contractor would be. Instead, the company owns the housing. LMH is in in charge, not the military.
Rigell’s legislation, however, will put in place rules requiring military secretaries worldwide to monitor the performance of companies charged with maintaining these homes and report to Congress on the findings. Finally, someone who cares about the health and safety of military families will have the power to protect them.
If your family suffered damage or health problems because of LMH’s failure to protect you from mold, contact our office. Experienced attorneys are here to fight for your health, your rights and your dignity.