FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – Sen. Thom Tillis is asking military housing providers to answer complaints he has received about military families with disabilities being treated unfairly.
Tillis, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sent letters to Corvias and other housing companies this month detailing what they call troubling reports of the companies violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Corvias manages more than 6,000 homes and apartments at Fort Bragg.
Military spouse Brittney Fourtner said she has experienced problems with her home since moving to Fort Bragg in January. She said there have been problems with mold, water damage, carpets tearing, and other issues.
“I shouldn’t have to worry about my own safety in my home,” Fourtner said.
Brittney has a seizure disorder and sometimes uses a wheelchair. She said the carpet issue has caused her to trip and fall. She does not think it was fixed properly by Corvias, even after repeated work order requests.
“I think we should be able to withhold rent if our needs and our work orders aren’t being done correctly or on time,” Fourtner said.
Rachel Christian with the Military Housing Advocacy Network helped survey military families with disabilities around the country this summer.
The senators point to the results of those findings in their letters to housing providers, including that housing companies appear to be violating federal law.
Families reported significant barriers to finding ADA compliant housing, including long wait times, inadequate housing, and being challenged by housing management when it came to ADA compliance, among other issues.
“What these housing companies should have been doing was paying for these reasonable accommodations for families,” Christian said. “It’s just not fair to do to anybody, especially families who are serving their country and have no choice but to move to these locations.”
Christian said families around the country are scared to speak up, afraid of getting in trouble with their chain of command.
“They really are scared of retaliation,” Christian said. “I can’t sit and watch this happen while there are essentially multi-billion dollar corporations getting taxpayer-funded profits while military families are suffering and there is nobody there to stand up for them.”
Several military families have sued Corvias, saying the company did not provide safe housing for their families.
Earlier this year, Corvias told CBS 17 they’re investing $25 million into military housing at Fort Bragg.
Tillis’ statement sent to CBS 17 News:
“Military families across the nation are all too familiar with private military housing providers falling short of their obligations to ensure safe and livable housing conditions,” said Senator Tillis. “These companies must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide accommodations to military families who need and deserve them. While I’m proud of the bipartisan action we’ve taken to address the issues facing military housing over the past few years, it’s clear more work needs to be done. Congress needs to hold providers accountable when they fail to secure safe housing for our servicemembers and their families.”
Editor’s note: Photos used in the video above were provided by Britney Fourtner and other military families.