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Leaders Committed to Housing Improvements

Photo by: 
Amber Martin
Monday, January 13, 2020

Army leaders from 34 installations and representatives from the seven privatized housing companies are coming together for a summit to review the work that’s being done to improve housing across the force.

The summit, scheduled for Jan. 14–16 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, will be hosted by the U.S. Army Materiel Command. The command assumed responsibility for all Army housing a year ago.

“We are absolutely committed to provide safe and secure housing on every installation and making every installation an installation of choice for our soldiers and families,” said Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command, in a statement. “The summit is another step in our commitment to hold ourselves and privatized housing companies accountable to provide a high-quality standard of living and to earn back the trust of our housing residents.”

The Army and the other services have been working for months to fix on-post housing after widespread reports of poor maintenance, black mold, pest infestations and other issues. The issue has been the subject of multiple hearings on Capitol Hill, and senior Army leaders, including Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, have pledged to continue addressing the issue.

“It is our responsibility to provide housing, not simply to code but also to quality,” McCarthy said in December during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, adding, “We owe it to the 45% of our force who live on-post.”

Since March, the Army and Army Materiel Command have implemented several initiatives to improve housing. These include visits to all housing units, establishing 24/7 hotlines at every installation, hosting quarterly town hall meetings led by installation leaders, hiring more than 100 additional staff members for installation housing offices, and creating mobile apps to help residents submit and track work orders.

Army leaders also sought feedback from soldiers and their families; more than 25,000 residents filled out a satisfaction survey in July.

The upcoming housing summit will give Army leaders and the housing companies a forum to work together on the next steps, the Army said in a statement.

“We still have much work to do, and, rest assured, this is a continuing priority with Army senior leaders,” Perna said in a statement. “We are in this for the long haul.”