Senior leaders met with residents of Fort Belvoir privatized military housing last week to listen to their maintenance and housing concerns.
Maj. Gen. Michael Howard, Joint Force Headquarters- National Capital Region and Military District of Washington commanding general, Col. Michael Greenberg, Fort Belvoir Garrison commander, and a team of leaders and housing officials, addressed Belvoir’s residents in two town halls.
“The Army used to visit every place where Soldiers and families live and has stopped doing that over the last one or two decades,” Howard said. “The Chief (Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley) has directed that we return to doing that, across our Army.”
After recent news reports of sub-standard housing and Congressional hearings with advocates and resident-spouses, the Army has launched a phased approach to respond to complaints, through town halls, home visits and barracks inspections.
Howard said Army leadership has to fix the lack of trust that has developed with chains of command.
“It troubles me greatly that you feel you can’t get the help you need,” he told residents.
Leaders are directed and empowered to visit every home in the next 30 days. This effort is not to inspect units, but to ensure residents are safe and their needs are being met.
Greenberg detailed recent trends in issues brought up by Fort Belvoir residents, including: mold and air quality; quality assurance; communication; unannounced maintenance visits; maintenance response time; gas leaks in certain, older villages; mice; standing water and flooding.
In addition to those trends, Belvoir residents voiced their concerns over reimbursement for housing-related expenses; problems with locks, water, water heaters and air conditioning; and repetitive, systemic problems.
“These aren’t just Fort Belvoir, National Capital Region or Army problems,” Howard said, indicating there are systemic problems with more than 100,000 Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) quarters throughout the Defense Department, nationwide.
Howard emphasized the Army’s expectation about emergency housing work orders is:
Respond within an hour and fix the problem within 24 hours.
“If we cannot fix something in that time frame, then the RCI will relocate you,” he said.
Emergencies are quantified by significant damage to property, or which poses a life, health or safety risk to the resident.
“We have good people who do good work, most of the time, at RCI,” Howard said. “However, we have to fix where we aren’t treating people properly.”
The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital’s Public Health Nursing is utilizing their main clinic phone line to receive any calls regarding mold or other environmental concerns related to housing.
For individuals who have concerns of how housing conditions may be affecting their health, they can contact the Public Health Clinic at 571-231-2004.
If you call after hours, leave a voice mail message. They will return the call no later than the next duty day. The Public Health Clinic will do an assessment to determine if any urgent or routine specialty referrals are necessary.
Jennifer Watkins, Community Director, Villages at Belvoir, said the Villages at Belvoir team is dedicated and committed to working with residents to address their concerns and apologized for disservices in the past.
“These problems are nothing we are proud of and we will make it better,” she said, adding they are in the process of improving the work order system with better tracking and notification capabilities.
Levels of Escalation To Resolve Housing Concerns
Submit your work order by phone, online or in-person to the The Villages at Belvoir:
-Call the 24-Hour Emergency Maintenance Request Line at 703- 619-3880.
-Visit the Maintenance Facility, Building 1108.
-Speak with Assistant Community Director Jennifer Hudson, Management Office, at 703-619- 3861
-Contact your Chain of Command
-Call the Garrison Housing Office at 703-805-3018/3019
-Call the Garrison Commander’s Housing Hotline at 571-259-9867
-Submit your concerns to the Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) system here: https://ice.disa. mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=13153 1&s=336&dep=*DoD&sc=8