Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and the private housing contractor managing residences for military personnel assigned to the installation have made progress toward resolving problems that current and former residents have spotlighted, WLOX TV reported last week.
Keesler officials have met with every privatized housing resident to address complaints reported on an installation survey following a 2018 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that highlighted privatized military housing problems across the country.
The resident meetings have included concerns on a range of problems Keesler privatized housing residents have faced, particularly recurring mold, according to the report.
The 2018 SASC hearing that included testimony from Crystal Cornwall, a former Keesler resident who founded the Safe Military Housing Initiative, and a 2017 lawsuit filed against installation contractor brought focus on military residence mold problems and other issues at Keesler.
Air Force Col. Paul Fidler, deputy commander of the 81st Mission Support Group, said that Hunt Military Companies now has a “Moisture Remediation Plan” which the Mission Support Group oversees. Fidler also said the group’s goal is to make sure they are addressing every resident’s concerns, according to the report.
When he first became involved with Keesler privatized housing problems Fidler acknowledged “very high emotions” at meetings on the issue, according to the report. He said the recent resident meetings have shown a positive change.
“The pulse I got from these recent two meetings was much better,” Fidler said. “I think that process is starting to take effect, and our goal with all of that is A) We resolved their issues in a very timely manner, and B) We start to rebuild that trust.”
Fidler said poor communication on several fronts led to many of the problems that centered on recurring mold issues that residents said Hunt was not correcting, according to the report.
In addition to the mold issues, Fidler also emphasized the base survey results and meetings will help solve all housing issues, not problems related to mold.
There are 1,188 residential housing units for Keesler including one on base, three in Biloxi, Miss., and one in Gautier, Miss.
Photo courtesy Keesler AFB