Yesterday, Reuters reported that U.S. Congress approved the largest overhaul to the American military’s housing program, vowing to end slum-like living conditions and hold private landlords and defense officials accountable for them. The news comes after Reuters reporters M.B. Pell and Joshua Schneyer exposed the hazardous, squalid housing of American military families in a series of investigations, ‘Ambushed at Home.’
Reuters detailed in the series how one major landlord, Balfour Beatty Communities, obtained millions of dollars in bonus payments after falsifying maintenance records. Earlier reports, which included contributions from Andrea Januta and Deborah Nelson, revealed children were sickened by lead and mold, and showed how base residents across the United States were deprived of basic tenant protections granted to civilians.
Pell and Schneyer shared background on how they got started on the investigation:
“The story started when we were contacted by military families who had been exposed to lead poisoning while living on military bases,” said Pell. “We learned these homes were owned by private companies that the military paid millions of dollars. It was the largest-ever privatization of federal housing.”
“We started to build contacts with families and they invited us to visit their homes,” Schneyer said. “Families started to feel more empowered to speak and it helped lead us to other sources.”
Click here to read the ‘Ambushed at Home’ series.
Media contact:Heather Carpenter
heather.carpenter @ thomsonreuters.com
[Reuters PR Blog Post]