While progress has been made, Fort Hood senior leaders told on-post family housing residents at a town hall event in Howze Auditorium Nov. 7 that they remain committed to seeing more improvements for Army families living at the Great Place.
“To the family members that are here, thanks,” III Corps and Fort Hood Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Kenneth Kamper said in his opening remarks to a lightly-attended quarterly session. “It’s your feedback that helps us to get better.
“There has been some progress,” Kamper said, “but I acknowledge we still have work to do.”
Kamper said continuing efforts to improve communication is a priority moving ahead.
“We have to get better,” the general said.
Following Kamper’s remarks, Fort Hood Garrison Commander Col. Jason Wesbrock covered the issues that have been resolved since the installation began hosting town hall events focused on housing in February.
Highlighted among the issues resolved were a published policy by Lendlease Incorporated, the contract operator of Fort Hood Family Housing, on displaced family compensation; installation of keyless deadbolt locks; and allowing five business days for new residents to complete their move-in inspection sheet.
Wesbrock also noted that since February, Lendlease has added 26 new employees to facilitate response time for maintenance work orders and conducted customer service training for their staff.
Among issues still being worked on, Wesbrock said a final post-wide policy on handling mold remediation cases is being coordinated with the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and should be completed soon, while replacement window screens have been installed in 680 homes thus far in an ongoing effort to improve safety measures in on-post homes.
“(We) recognize we still have work to do and progress to be made in customer service, quality of maintenance and communication,” Wesbrock said at the conclusion of the event. “The chain of command for each Soldier remains actively involved in the process and will continue to do so until every issue is resolved.”
The garrison commander was followed by a representative from each of the 12 Fort Hood housing areas. A common thread among all of the presentations was a decline in families displaced from their homes due to mold remediation, and sporadic attendance at village-level town hall events by residents.
When the sponsoring brigades completed their briefings, the floor was opened up for questions and comments from residents.
Crystal Henriquez, newly-arrived to Fort Hood and a resident of Comanche II housing area, was the first to address the panel of senior leaders. She said she had safety concerns about a potentially vicious stray dog in her residential community.
Henriquez’s sponsoring brigade, 3rd “Greywolf” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, met with her immediately to gather information and look into the matter.
Emily Brown, also a resident of Comanche II housing who has dealt with mold issues for much of the year, addressed the processes in place to tackle mold, and told Fort Hood senior leaders there was a reason for the poor turnout of residents at the mid-morning event.
“This isn’t a good time (to meet),” Brown said. When asked by Kamper what time she felt was most conducive to the town hall, Brown said a 6 p.m. start time would draw more residents.
Nearly every resident mentioned the positive aspect of having their commands involved in resolving on-post housing issues.
Lt. Col. Kurt Ritterpusch is the home station commander for the Greywolf Brigade. While he, too, acknowledged that improvements can still be made, he’s optimistic that they will get done with continued command involvement.
“I am seeing progress,” he said. “On the whole, the system is growing and strengthening.”
The next post-wide town hall event is scheduled for March 19 at Howze Auditorium. The actual time of the event has yet to be set.
“We’ll look at possibly adjusting the time,” Kamper noted in his closing remarks.
Senior leaders also encouraged housing residents to take the time to fill out the Army Housing Survey, which they should have received via email Tuesday. The survey is conducted bi-annually. Any resident on post needing a survey can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact FHFH through their Facebook page and provide them your name, address and email address. The last day to complete the survey is Dec. 12.