An abandoned house is seen in the Medina Annex at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland in San Antonio, Texas U.S. November 16, 2019. (Reuters/Callaghan O'Hare)

(Reuters) - Congress on Tuesday approved the largest overhaul to the American military's housing program in more than two decades, vowing to end slum-like living conditions and hold private landlords and defense officials accountable for them.

The reforms, included in the yearly National Defense Authorization Act, aim to protect some 200,000 military families living on U.S. bases from health hazards including mold, lead, asbestos and pest infestations. The problems have been detailed by Reuters since last year in a series of investigations, Ambushed at Home.

The congressional action was prompted by the Reuters reports and a growing chorus of complaints from military families who joined forces to decry substandard living conditions.

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Swab tests at residences in Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S. reveal in red the presence of lead in this undated handout photo obtained by FOIA from the US Army, received by Reuters August 15, 2018. (U.S. Army FOIA/Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new survey of military families living on U.S. bases found most are dissatisfied with their housing, often citing serious health and safety hazards – results that counter years of Pentagon reports claiming soaring satisfaction rates among military housing tenants.

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Swab tests at residences in Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S. reveal in red the presence of lead in this undated handout photo obtained by FOIA from the US Army, received by Reuters August 15, 2018. (U.S. Army FOIA/Handout via Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Troubled by widespread health and safety hazards uncovered by a Reuters investigation into U.S. military housing, Congress will hold hearings next month to ensure that "what we're seeing now can never happen again," said Michigan Democrat Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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