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Fort Hood leaders address living conditions in family housing and barracks

Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 19:42:13-04

Fort Hood's command staff took to Facebook to address comments and growing concerns about family housing and barracks on post.

The post been under the microscope following a number of high-profile soldier deaths and other incidents, prompting a change in top leadership and multiple investigations.

Earlier this year, several families filed a federal lawsuit over "deplorable conditions in housing on post” with some even falling ill.

"We owe you the best housing in the safest environment that we can provide you here at Ft. Hood," said Major General John Richardson.

After a visit from a congressional delegation investigating Fort Hood in September, command leaders are acknowledging some of the poor living conditions in the barracks and family housing on post.

They say it's an ongoing project that will takes years to fully address.

"I think I have seen the worst barracks I’ve ever seen in my life," said Rep. Gil Cisneros.

They shouldn’t have to be worrying about whether their housing is safe and secure or whether there is mold growing in their housing," said Rep. Jason Crow.

"I never want to hear from another young mother like we did saying the black mold had even permeated her baby's crib mattress," Rep. Kathrine Crow.

With claims of mold and dilapidated living conditions, Major General John Richardson says they are working to address the problems but it’ll take time.

“We know that some of the housing here on Fort Hood is some of the oldest housing in the army and that presents a challenge for the chain of command in our partners," he said.

Right now, about 972 stucco homes in Comanche III, Montague and Kouma Villages are being renovated.

“The estimated duration for that project as of today is 18 months, but we are currently reviewing our options to increase that speed to reduce the inconvenience to our great residents," Chris Albus, Project Director for Ft. Hood Family Housing, said.

Albus says these homes were built between 2000-2006, but some barracks are much older.

"We recognize those barracks were built in the 1950's they are in dire need of renovation they are our worst barracks but we are working very hard to keep them livable until we can get to those renovations," said Brian Dosa Director of Public Works for Fort Hood.

Dosa says the Army's Facility Investment plan over the next 10 years has funding allocated for renovations.

“There's about $375 million to do those renovations over the next 6 years. So, we are going to have to live with those hammer heads a little bit longer," he added.

Though it could be years before renovations are complete, Major General Richardson says they will work with Fort Hood residents to address concerns.

"We are committed to is compassion and responsiveness and trying to mitigate some of the challenges that we have as a larger plan over time is put into place," Major General Richardson said.

COVID-19 did pose a challenge with addressing maintenance issues, but command staff say the back log of requests due to COVID have been addressed. Leaders also say there will be a new maintenance call center that will kick off at the start of the new year.