Following a town hall held Wednesday at the Pershing Community Center, unit leaders will start visits to family housing today across Fort Leonard Wood. The Army requires 100 percent of occupied houses to be visited during the first part of March. This is in response to a variety of documented issues at some Army installations and an effort to ensure residents have the quality housing they deserve.
Visits by unit leaders will occur now through March 13 to assess housing conditions in on-post, family housing.
This move is part of an ongoing Army-wide effort to resolve unsatisfactory conditions in family housing on Army installations.
U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Chief of Staff, Col. Dave Caldwell, sat down with the GUIDON to answer some questions regarding the visits to family housing on Fort Leonard Wood.
Who will conduct these visits?
The bulk of the visits will be conducted by company commanders, first sergeants and other approved designees or service members and Department of Defense civilians within their organizations who live on post. All visits are required to have a least two people present. In addition, garrison leaders will visit homes of civilians not affiliated with the DoD and retirees who live on post.
When will the visits take place, and do residents have to schedule the visits?
Visits will begin today through March 13. Teams will visit homes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. We will try to maximize normal business hours between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the majority of visits. Residents do not need to wait until visited, or schedule visits. However, if a resident is not normally available during those times, they can contact their chain of command to schedule a visit for a time that works best for them. Chain of commands will also try to ensure service members and residents will have time to be at home for the visits.
What are they looking for during these visits?
We are mostly hoping for candid feedback from our residents. We want to hear about what is working, what needs improvement and what areas need to be addressed immediately with on-post family housing. These visits will allow our service members, their families and other residents who live on post to bring unresolved issues to installation leadership and the chain of command. There will be absolutely no reprisal for reporting. In fact, we’re eager to see where things might be improved to better care for our families and Soldiers, so we need unfiltered feedback from our residents.
What do the visits entail — are the homes being inspected?
The teams are not inspecting family housing. Rather, they are visiting residents at the threshold of their doors to personally hear about any issues or concerns and to identify any areas that need immediate attention. The teams will not enter homes unless invited to do so. There is a short list of questions about the condition of the house the team will ask residents. The questions are centered around environmental and maintenance concerns within the home.
In addition to the home visits, command teams will also inspect all barracks and single-soldier housing on Fort Leonard Wood.
How long will the visits take, and do residents need to be present?
Normal visits should last between five and 10 minutes. Residents will need to be present. If a resident is not home at the time the team visits, they will come back when someone is home. If a family has a unique schedule, they can make arrangements with their chain of command to schedule a time that works best for their situation.
Who should residents contact for maintenance issues?
Residents are encouraged to call Balfour Beatty/Fort Leonard Wood Homes at 573.329.4000 to request any maintenance at their homes or the Garrison Housing Office at 573.596.0859 for any issues or concerns. In addition, the Garrison Command has set up a 24-hour Emergency Operation Center Housing Hotline for residents to report any life, health or safety concerns regarding on-post housing that have not been resolved within a 24-hour time period; that number is 573.329.3926.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just like the Army team, the team here at Fort Leonard Wood is fully committed to providing our residents a safe and secure environment and healthy living conditions. Taking care of Soldiers and families is one of the CG’s four enduring priorities, and we will take every measure to make sure they are provided with the quality housing they deserve.
We have been working very closely with our private housing partner, Balfour Beatty, during this process, and I can tell you that they are excited to receive this feedback because they want to deliver the best housing they can.
This will allow them to fix any problems that are identified and continue to build on and improve the trust they have with residents.