Government-provided housing is one of the many incentives young men and women receive for joining the U.S. military. I’ve seen base housing at Fort Benning which looked pretty similar to my old college dorm room, and I’ve observed exquisitely-manicured lawns and historically-preserved homes at Jackson Barracks in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.

Where military personnel and their families live should be one of the last things they worry about when they get assigned a new duty station. It’s the military’s obligation to ensure service members have safe, suitable, and comfortable quarters, regardless of rank. According to a 2005 study conducted by the Rand Corporation, the U.S. government spent approximately $58,000 to $175,000 per service member each year.

However, recent reports from several military spouses are exposing what may be one of the most egregious contract violations in the history of the United States Armed Forces. According to a recent report from Reuters, several thousand houses rented to military families are in extreme disrepair, and many are considered health hazards. The problem affects military personnel from nearly all branches across the country.

One company responsible for these housing units is the Corvias Group, a real estate and property management firm based in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. For nearly 20 years, Corvias has acquired military housing units at an alarming rate across the country. As of this writing, the company is directly responsible for maintaining and managing 26,000 homes rented by military personnel.

Corvias gained contracts for these homes in 2002 as part of the Pentagon’s “U.S. Military Housing Privatization Initiative,” which brought in private companies to manage more than 200,000 U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) housing units. Although some firms do a great job ensuring U.S. service members and their families are living in well-maintained houses, others, like Corvias, seem comfortable letting the units fall into disrepair.

Of Mice and Mold

Rachael Kilpatrick, a military spouse living at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, recently launched a petition on to bring more attention to this issue. Her campaign, “Hold Corvias accountable,” has more than 3,500 signatures at press time, and contains a shocking image of a Corvias-owned property covered in mold. According to Kilpatrick, the issues with the Corvias homes include “mold, hurricane damage, gas leaks, unsafe conditions causing tenants to fall ill, unprofessionalism, and unsanitary houses.”

“There are service members and their families getting sick from these houses,” wrote Kilpatrick on her petition’s webpage. “They are not up to standard. We sacrifice a lot, our health shouldn’t be one of them just because we want to live on base. Someone needs to hold Corvias accountable for their actions, or lack thereof.”

Other military families living at different bases reported similar issues. Leigh Tuttle, who lives in on-base housing at Fort Polk, Louisiana, told SOFREP Radio that the mold was so bad in her home, her children were getting sick and her husband, a member of the Special Operations Forces community, was prescribed an inhaler.