(The Center Square) – Two congressional members from Washington state are pressing for more information regarding conditions of private homes available for military personnel stationed at Fairchild Air Fore Base near Spokane.

In a press release Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said they had received “troubling reports about the status of the privatized housing maintained by Balfour Beatty Communities. They cited instances of mold observed on the exterior of some houses, cracks in foundations, housing siding falling off, chipping paint, roofs needing replacement, and more.

“Our servicemembers and their families sacrifice so much for our country, and we need to ensure that they have access to dependable housing,” Murray and McMorris Rodgers wrote in a letter sent Monday to Ty McPhillips of San Antonio, Texas, vice president of project management at Balfour Beatty Communities.

Balfour Beatty is a London-based international infrastructure group with 25,000 employees that provides construction and support services across the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the United States.

The company has a long-term contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to maintain and build at the Fairchild air base located west of Spokane. According to the Air Force, there are 641 Balfour Beatty-maintained homes at Fairchild, of which 539 were constructed in the 1950s. Between 2008 and 2104, 546 homes were renovated and 14 have not been upgraded since the 1990s, according to the press release.

Murray and McMorris Rodgers have requested an update on the timeline for both a short-term “sustainment plan” and a timeline for a long-term recapitalization plan “to fix the housing issues.”

“According to the Military Housing Office, 205 homes are currently rated below average in several areas, and without the necessary renovations, this number will undoubtedly increase,” said Murray and McMorris Rodgers, adding, “It is our understanding that previous plans have been repeatedly changed or postponed.”

They acknowledged that Fairchild and the local Balfour Beatty office “have cultivated a great relationship over the duration of the partnership,” with service members reporting “timely responses to minor maintenance repairs.”

“… however, it is crucial to address long-term housing needs before they become detrimental to service members and their families,” the two congresswomen wrote.

Military personnel also have the option of receiving an allowance to rent housing off the base.

A spokesperson for Murray’s office on Tuesday said a direct reply had not yet been received from Balfour Beatty Communities. The company did not immediately reply to an email or telephone request for comment from The Center Square.

The company did issue a statement to The Spokesman-Review saying the homes at Fairchild are older but have no systemic problems and that a short-term sustainment plan reached with the Air Force is being put into place with regular maintenance on an approved schedule.

A long-term plan is scheduled to go into effect in 2029, the company said.

McMorris Rodgers and Murray said they were concerned that “these aging homes are rapidly approaching a point where they will not be fit for families living on base.”

Located in McMorris Rodgers’ 5th Congressional District, the base currently serves as the Air Force’s air refueling tanker fleet on the West Coast and home to a survival training program. “Team Fairchild” includes nearly 12,000 active duty, National Guard, tenant unit members, dependents and civilian employees. Another Armed Forces Reserve Center has about 870 Army Guard and Reserve personnel.

Last week, Murray, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced Senate passage of a military construction and Veterans Administration funding bill that includes more than $582 million for projects in Washington state. All are included in the Biden administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2024, said Murray.

Among the proposed allocations are about $108 million for barracks at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma.