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Air Force joins other services to address military privatized housing

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan, along with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and secretaries from the Army and Navy, gathered with privatized housing project owners Oct. 2 to address the progress in reforming the Military Housing Privatization Initiative.

“We meet with the project owners quarterly to ensure our Airmen and their families always have safe and secure housing at the quality they deserve,” Donovan said.

The Air Force is working on numerous initiatives to address the health, safety and quality concerns of service members and their families living in privatized housing. These initiatives are grouped along five major lines of effort:

Empowering residents

  • Air Force leaders established the Resident Hotline, a 24/7, toll-free helpline that went live May 1. The call center has since received and assisted 45 callers.
  • The Air Force is working with the other services to develop a Resident Bill of Rights. Between June 15 and July 15, residents were invited to provide feedback on the draft document. Services are in final review of the Bill of Rights that addresses the residents’ feedback
  • The Air Force is working to establish Resident Advocates at its installations.
  • The service is working with the project owners to implement automated work-order systems with greater transparency for service members.

Improving oversight

  • The service is in the process of hiring additional personnel at several bases to provide increased oversight. Some are already hired at Tinker and MacDill Air Force Bases. Seven positions have been filled.
  • Several bases were provided with Resident Construction Managers, experienced in residential construction and mold remediation techniques at several bases in April.
  • The Air Force is working to revise annual site visits to better gauge the health of the housing program of each individual base, enhance on-site government oversight and gauge resident experience.

Integrating leadership

  • Commanders conducted 100% health and safety checks in 2019.
  • Commanders have been directed to take a more active role in oversight of privatized housing matters.
  • The Air Force is negotiating with project owners to restructure the performance incentive fee plan, to allow for increased commander and resident input in the fee award.

Improving communication

  • In March, the Air Force issued a letter to project owners defining its position on the use of nondisclosure agreements, after discovering improper use of the document at several installations.
  • The Air Force identified and shared best practices by project owners across the housing portfolio.
  • Air Force leaders are looking at adding questions to the survey to more accurately gauge the climate of each base’s housing program.

Standardizing policy

  • The services are working to develop common leases.
  • They are conducting an audit of resident energy conservation program.
  • The services have provided guidance on availability of legal assistance to residents.
  • The Air Force is revising guidance to define stakeholder roles, enhance communication flow and clarify housing processes for commanders.