Our most important obligation as Army leaders is to take care of our people — our Soldiers, civilians and family members. Recent reports highlighting deficient conditions in family housing across the Army are deeply disturbing.
We have wrapped our arms around this, and we are absolutely committed to providing safe and secure housing on every installation. We are taking action to earn back the trust of our housing residents, and holding ourselves and privatized housing companies accountable to provide a high-quality standard of living.
New command structure
With the transition of Installation Management Command, which manages the operations of Army installations, as a major subordinate command of Army Materiel Command, I became the Army’s general officer responsible for installation readiness. I am working closely — and am personally involved — with Army leadership and the privatized housing companies to enact a set of policies and programs that will improve residents’ quality of life and, ultimately, Army readiness.
Changes and improvements
To start this process, we needed to see ourselves and the problem in its entirety. This effort included visits to 100% of privatized homes, the establishment of 24/7 housing hotlines at every installation, and Garrison Commander-hosted town halls so we could hear first-hand what you are experiencing.
Once we had improved visibility of the housing landscape, we laid out a way ahead for course correction. We are engaged at the highest levels with the Air Force and Navy to develop a tenant bill of rights that will empower Service members and their families to hold housing providers accountable.
We are revising the incentive fee structure with the housing companies to enable Garrison Commanders to advocate on your behalf for higher quality, timely housing support. We are also hiring additional staff at installation housing offices to provide quality assurance checks on the work being done in homes.
Our vigilance to life, health and safety issues, and maintenance in homes, must continue. Garrison Commanders now have full access to housing work orders, and can execute the quality control measures needed to ensure the issues are properly fixed the first time. Private housing providers have each created a mobile app for residents to improve the tenant-landlord relationship. We will continue to hold quarterly town halls with Garrison Commanders to keep residents informed of housing policies and programs. We are also conducting long-term planning for the future oversight of privatized housing maintenance to prevent a reoccurrence of past issues and sustain forward momentum.
Communication is key
We must rebuild confidence with Soldiers and families, and communication is key. To that end, Army Materiel Command will publish this Army Housing Newsflash every month to keep residents informed of our progress with private housing providers, best practices, new initiatives and solutions around the Army.
As we continue to work through this, I ask that you bring your housing issues or concerns to your leadership and chain-of-command with confidence that you and your family will receive the care and attention you so rightly deserve, and without retribution. Army Housing Offices on every installation can also provide support and services, even to those living in privatized housing.
These steps are not about quantity; they are about quality, and making sure our response to these serious concerns are prompt and comprehensive. I will continue to personally work with Army leadership and private housing providers to ensure our Soldiers and their families have the safe, secure housing they deserve.