Fort Belvoir’s quarterly Housing Town Hall, last week, brought several positive announcements for residents. The panel, hosted by Maj. Gen. Omar Jones, Military District of Washington commanding general, included garrison, Army and Residential Communities Initiative leadership. All of the speakers noted that, while improvements have been made, more are still planned.
With about 50 residents at the town hall, and 25 more watching a live stream, Jones said housing conditions are improving, but not enough.
“I will emphasize, on behalf of both Department of Defense leadership and Army leadership, the commitment to getting this right; the commitment to safe, healthy, secure housing here on the installation. We want to hear from you, in terms of how we get it right and how to help you,” Jones said.
QA teams making a difference
Col. Michael Greenberg, Garrison commander, said a significant step was forming a Quality Assurance team, which performs inspections on all matters of life, health and safety.
Available homes inventory
Greenberg said a new initiative has suspended pre-leasing to build an inventory of available houses.
“We’ve allowed inventory to grow, so if someone is (displaced to) a hotel, and the work is going to take longer than 30 days, it allows us a house that’s safe to occupy for that family. It’s not happening yet, but once a family gets in a hotel, RCI will look at getting you into a house. This is a slow process, but we now have houses available, and that’s a good news story,” said Greenberg.
Casey Nolan, a senior member of RCI, said the first, large project earlier this year was identifying homes that have already or might exhibit laundry room freezing. Initial work addressed 13 homes of 166 that already had problems.
“ … We have a plan rolling out to address the remainder. Sometime, between now and the end of the year, if one of those homes has a work order, we’re going to get it fixed,” Nolan said.
Nolan also said the complaints about the quality of work and demeanor of certain contractors resulted in numerous dismissals from further work on the installation. “Vendor accountability is super serious to us. There are vendors no longer working here, who are being held accountable.
There are vendors who have been withheld compensation, because their work product was not good,” he said.
Dogue Creek renovations
Nolan reported the Army approved the budget to start rolling out renovations in Dogue Creek Village, which means major renovations to the north side; a large playground structure next to the Dogue Creek Bridge with a splash pad; multiple playground structures for kids of various ages; a wheelchair-accessible path; a fishing dock with an open green turf space for all families.