The retired Navy admiral who has been nominated to be in charge of Navy installations told senators he is “livid” about housing conditions of some sailors and their families.
And Charles A. Williams, nominated by President Donald Trump for assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, knows something about housing.
He has 40 years of real estate experience.
Williams said if he is confirmed, his first priority will be to tackle problems with Navy privatized housing. Although he needs to study the issue more, he said, “I’ll lay out a plan in fairly short order” during his confirmation hearing testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I’ve seen some pictures of some housing that I cannot believe that any professional property manager would allow a tenant to [live in],” he said. “I’m kind of livid about this because as a commanding officer, it’s about taking care of our people, and we’ve let them down,” Williams said.
This position is a critical one as the Navy addresses problems with mold, lead paint, rodent infestation and other issues that have plagued some of its privatized housing. The problems cross all branches of service. The issue was first reported by Reuters. Spouses testified before lawmakers last year about their concerns about their families’ health and safety, and their frustrations in getting privatized housing companies to fix problems in their houses, or to get military officials to intervene on their behalf.
The services have taken a number of steps to address problems with delays in maintenance, and proper corrective work, and have hired more government housing staff to increase oversight of the housing at the installation level. A tenant bill of rights is pending. The recently enacted Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act also contains a number of provisions aimed at addressing the problems.
Williams served more than 32 years of combined active and reserve duty. While most of his real estate career has been in the commercial sector, Williams said he has owned some residential apartments.
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