Families allege unsafe conditions at privatized military housing in Florida

Military families file lawsuit over housing

Washington — Military families are raising the alarm about dangerous mold in military housing managed by private contractors. Some families said their homes are putting their health in danger and now they're demanding Congress do something about it.

"Some of my children will be sick from this for the rest of their lives," said Amie Norquist.

Norquist and Traci Lenz said their families are suffering from respiratory and neurological illnesses. They're among five military families suing the owners and property managers of their privatized housing at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, alleging unsafe living conditions like rotting walls and floors, and problems with mold so severe that in one instance "mushrooms grew out of the floor and carpet."

It's the latest in a series of lawsuits alleging similar issues with mold, lead paint and infestations of pests and rats. 

Private contractors are responsible for more than 200,000 homes on military bases nationwide. In 2016, the Defense Department's inspector general cited "pervasive health and safety hazards."

On Tuesday, senators on the Armed Services Committee grilled senior military leadership.

In a recent survey, more than half of the respondents reported a "negative" or "very negative" opinion of their living conditions.

"We cannot have another generation of military families going through what we've gone through or you're not gonna have a mission-ready military, you're not gonna have people who want to join the military," Lenz said.

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.