Congressman Panetta Statement on the Army Inspector General Report on Privatized Housing

September 5, 2019
Press Release

SALINAS, CA – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) released the following statement on the public release of the Army Inspector General report on privatized housing:

"I thank and applaud the U.S. Army and in particular Acting Secretary Ryan McCarthy for leading the way and publicizing the findings of their Inspector General report on housing," said Congressman Panetta.  "It is imperative the Department of Defense develop a holistic solution to remedy systemic privatized military housing issues and empower servicemember families. Transparency, communication, and accountability are integral to addressing the concerns of military families."

"I’m glad to see the Army continue to work to address the housing issues across installations," said Congressman Richard Hudson, who represents Fort Bragg. "This report identified many of the same issues I’ve heard when talking to families at Fort Bragg and contained similar recommendations we made in our bill the Better Military Housing Act. Make no mistake, we have a long road ahead of us to get the housing issue right, but this is a positive step. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to make sure we deliver for our military families."

The Inspector General report identifies 10 key findings and provides 20 recommendations to improve the effectiveness, responsiveness, and quality of privatized military housing. The Acting Secretary of the Army, Ryan D. McCarthy, concurred with all of the report’s recommendations and committed to ensuring quality housing and continued oversight moving forward. The full report may be found here.

Earlier this year, Congressman Panetta introduced H.R. 2811, the bipartisan Better Military Housing Act, improving oversight and enhancing the health, safety, and quality of privatized military housing. Core elements of the legislation are contained in the annual defense authorization bill, including requirements to create a tenant bill of rights for residents of privatized military housing; prohibit reprisal against military tenants; create a housing advocate for servicemembers; establish an accounting of respective responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant; implement an improved work order system; and execute and publicize annual oversight of privatized military housing at 15 randomly selected installations. Congressman Panetta also secured $5 million for an Army pilot program to construct new military housing utilizing the All-American Abode design by the United States Military Academy.

Original cosponsors of the Better Military Housing Act include Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC), Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD), Congressman John Carter (R-TX), Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA), Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX), and Congressman Michael Waltz (R-FL). Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

These sponsoring Members represent critical defense installations, including four of the five largest military installations in the United States - Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and Fort Benning.