Army fam­i­lies plead for hous­ing help af­ter Florence

The Gulf Today - - AMERICAS -

CAMP LE­JE­UNE: Two weeks af­ter hur­ri­cane florence del­uged the us east Coast’ s largest ma­rine corps base with rag­ing waters and dan­ger­ous winds, some mil­i­tary fam­i­lies say they are still re­sid­ing in un­liv­able con­di­tions and await­ing help from the base’s pri­vate hous­ing man­ager.

Some, like Jen­nifer Maher, said they feel un­safe in their Camp Le­je­une homes but were told they will not be moved be­cause as­sess­ment crews de­ter­mined their houses are hab­it­able.

That did not work for Maher, preg­nant in her third trimester and liv­ing with her hus­band and two-year-old son.

When she re­turned home last Fri­day, she opened the door to the stench of mold, she said while show­ing the wreck­age to a vis­it­ing re­porter.

Then she saw the ceil­ing had col­lapsed in their bed­room and garage.

“I’m preg­nant and I can smell the mold,” said Maher, whose hus­band is a Navy corps­man sta­tioned at Le­je­une. “There’s no way I could bring a new­born home and let her breathe this in.”

Though an as­sess­ment crew noted the col­lapsed ceil­ings and stand­ing wa­ter, Maher said, the hous­ing man­ager told the fam­ily they would not be re­lo­cated.

Af­ter she threat­ened to com­plain to the In­spec­tor Gen­eral’s OFICE on BASE, SHE SAID her fam­ily was given tem­po­rary lodg­ing. “I un­der­stand they have a lot to take care of,” Maher said of the hous­ing man­ager.

“But it’s hard when your hous­ing com­pany says, ‘I don’t know what to tell you, Go ind A shel­ter.’” A re­porter VIS­ITED the base, speak­ing with three res­i­dents in their dam­aged homes and in­ter­view­ing two oth­ers, one off base and one by phone.

At Le­je­une, some fam­i­lies de­scribed en­coun­ter­ing trou­bles that re­porters ob­served at other bases — lags in main­te­nance re­sponses by pri­vate con­trac­tors that stir wor­ries over health. Most of Camp Lej eu ne’ s hous­ing is run by at­lantic ma­rine Corps Com­mu­ni­ties (AMCC), a part­ner­ship be­tween Aus­tralia-based Lendlease Group, Bos­ton-based Win­ncom­pa­nies AND THE US Navy. All THE Homes proiled in this ar­ti­cle are man­aged by AMCC.

Of the more than 4,600 homes the com­pany op­er­ates at Camp Le­je­une and nearby New River Air Sta­tion, 1,200 have un­der­gone as­sess­ments. The in­spec­tions found 82 homes un­in­hab­it­able and re­quir­ing re­lo­ca­tion, said 2nd Lieu­tenant An­drew Martino, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions of ice rat camp Le­je­une. An­other 267 suf­fered sus­tained dam­age but were hab­it­able. A fur­ther 560 homes are op­er­ated by a dif­fer­ent man­ager, Lin­coln Mil­i­tary Hous­ing, which has not re­ported se­ri­ous dam­age, he said.

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