By Nathan Van Schaik, GrafenwoehrMarch 5, 2019
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Leadership with 7th Army Training Command and U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria are taking action after having conducted six town halls Feb. 25 - 28 across Bavaria to address housing problems and questions.
The town halls -- which drew in 1,005 community members from Grafenwoehr, Netzaberg, Vilseck, Hohenfels and Garmisch -- were the result of an Army-wide initiative to tackle deficient housing conditions across the Army, to include government-leased and -owned housing, privatized housing and Soldiers' barracks.
The town halls provided an internal forum for leaders to personally connect with Soldiers, Army families and other residents of the USAG Bavaria community.
Recurring problems raised at the town halls included: slow response to housing work orders, issues between tenants and their hausmeisters (landlords), lack of quality pre-inspections, cleaning and maintenance conducted in between tenants, and problems with appliances.
Leadership's priority is to help ensure they are meeting U.S. Army obligations to provide safe, quality family housing. To date, all housing problems at USAG Bavaria impacting life, health and safety have been resolved or families relocated.
In a recent statement, Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper stated, "We are deeply troubled by the recent reports highlighting the deficient conditions in some of our family housing. It is unacceptable for our Families who sacrifice so much to have to endure these hardships in their own homes. Our most sacred obligation as Army leaders is to take care of our people - our Soldiers and our Family members."
Civilian and uniformed leaders with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee March 7 on their "accountability to provide safe military housing" for service members.
WHAT NOW? WHAT NEXT?
In February, Defense Department officials gave commanders 30 days to conduct town halls and inspect all housing within their footprint.
Over the next several weeks, senior commanders and unit leadership will complete visits to government-leased housing, on-post housing and barracks -- with appropriate notice and consent -- to assess the scale and scope of housing issues.
Those not providing consent may still be asked for feedback.
Unit leadership will conduct these housing visits using an assessment checklist. These are not health and welfare inspections. Rather, the intent of the visits is to identify unhealthy, unsafe or substandard living conditions, as well as all maintenance deficiencies. Leadership will then prioritize and remediate the deficiencies. The assessment checklist is available for download (see related links below).
USAG Bavaria's housing office -- which falls under the Directorate of Public Works -- has created a database of ongoing housing work orders. You can track your housing work order on the USAG Bavaria Work Order page: https://home.army.mil/bavaria/index.php/about/Directorates/dpw/workorder.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Army leadership are committed to providing a safe and secure environment on all Army installations. Leadership at the installations have been directed to ensure all life, health and safety issues have been identified and resolved. Garrison officials will relocate those DOD personnel living in any conditions that, if not corrected, may cause harm or injury to a person. Report through your chain of command if you feel your housing conditions could impact your life, health or safety.
For other Army housing issues -- or to submit a housing work order -- across Grafenwoehr, Netzaberg, Vilseck, Hohenfels and Garmisch, use the USAG Bavaria housing hotline at DSN 314-475-6324, CIV 09641-83-6324. Alternatively, submit an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the USAG Bavaria Work Order page.
Also, become familiar with Army housing policy. Review our "Be a good neighbor: USAG Bavaria housing policies" for a good summary of your responsibilities (related links).
If you have questions, you can pose questions on the USAG Bavaria Housing Facebook page.