The Army is establishing a registry to track military housing complaints as part of a response to a recent string of news media reports detailing poor housing conditions on some military bases and housing-related health issues.
“The U.S. Army Medical Command is establishing a Housing Environmental Health Response Registry to address housing health or safety concerns of current or former Army housing residents,” the Army said in a statement Tuesday.
“The registry will allow the Army Public Health Center to provide current or former residents information on environmental health hazards, assist them in seeking medical care for any housing related illnesses or concerns, and serve as a two-way exchange of information for all potential enrollees,” it said.
“Anyone interested in enrolling in the registry can call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-984-8523 where they will be able to voice their concerns. The registry will be manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” according to the statement. It provided additional registry numbers: overseas at DSN (312) 421-3700, stateside at DSN 421-3700, and stateside commercial at 210-295-3700.
“We have a team of trained professionals standing by to assist all callers,” said John Resta, director of the U.S. Army Public Health Center and acting deputy chief of staff of public health for the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM).
“They will document the caller’s concerns and assist them with access to medical care if needed as well as referring any housing related concerns to the appropriate installation Department of Public Works,” Resta said. “We want to hear all concerns so we can make sure they are properly addressed.”
The registry first came to light on Monday when some members of the media, including Breitbart News and Task & Purpose, obtained an April 8 memo from Lt. Gen. Nadja West, Army surgeon general and MEDCOM commander, detailing its establishment.
“Once your information has been entered into the registry, it will enable us to provide you additional information on housing environmental hazards, assist you in seeking medical care for any housing related illnesses or concerns and allow us to share your concerns about housing environmental health hazards with Army leadership,” the memo said.
The memo said the registry will remain open “indefinitely.” The memo lists the same numbers as above. The main number is shared with the Army’s Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline.
One Army spouse, Leigh Tuttle, who faced poor housing conditions at their prior location at Fort Polk, Louisiana, said she is encouraged by the registry, but is concerned about how the information will be used.
“I’m very happy that this is happening, but I’m also apprehensive,” she said in a phone conversation with Breitbart News. “How will this be used?”
Tuttle and her family moved into a renovated 1980s duplex with stains on the floors and air ducts at Fort Polk, Louisiana in 2016, according a December 2018 interview with Reuters. The private company managing the duplex, Corvias, told her the stains were “just dust.” After mold was found, the staff replaced the carpets, but not the air ducts.
Tuttle said her five-year-old son Weston later developed breathing difficulties, and still needs inhalers and frequent nebulizer treatments. They have since moved to Washington state, and live in off-base civilian housing. “The mold was the worst in his room,” Tuttle told Reuters. “He wouldn’t have these problems if they’d done things right.”
Tuttle has since begun advocating for other military families facing on-base housing problems.