Secretaries from the military branches met recently with senior executives from private housing companies to discuss ways to continue to improve housing for residents living on Army installations.
“While the Army is making positive steps forward, we must continue to improve, in order to provide quality housing to our Soldiers and their families, including planning for future investments in Army housing,” said Ryan McCarthy, Army secretary. McCarthy noted that, since the last quarterly meeting in October, the Army has finalized a new incentive fee structure with private housing companies that puts families first and holds companies accountable.
Meeting attendees discussed implementing housing provisions included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, including the dispute-resolution process; move in/move out procedures; developing a common lease agreement; and the public availability of home-maintenance histories. They also discussed the need to review the BAH process to ensure BAHs accurately reflect market costs, to provide stability for families and the housing projects.
“We have made significant strides over the last year to provide quality, safe and secure housing, but we have more work to do,” said Gen. Gus Perna, Army Materiel Command commander. “My vision is that every installation is a Soldier and family’s No. 1 choice to be stationed. We are focused on investment and reinvestment strategies to ensure long-term viability and quality of housing.”
The recent meeting is the latest in a series of discussions where the Army and private companies have united to review strategies, programs, reforms and improvements. Last month, AMC hosted a housing summit at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., where Army leaders from 60 installations joined representatives from the seven privatized housing companies to assess improvements made to ensure Soldiers and their families have access to high-quality, on-post housing.
Cooperation between the Army and the private companies has led to housing improvements, including:
Hiring more staff at installation housing offices for quality assurance
Allowing garrison commanders full access to work orders so they can ensure issues are properly fixed the first time
Creating mobile apps to submit and track work orders
Establishing a Housing Environmental Health Response Registry and 24/7 telephone housing hotlines
Revising guidance on the oversight and management of privatized Army homes