More than 200 Army garrison commanders and command sergeants major traveled from around the world to San Antonio Nov. 18 through 22 for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Garrison Command Conference.
This annual conference is intended for the IMCOM commanding general to share his guidance and intent with the command teams, as well as share best practices across all Army garrisons.
Kicking off the conference this year was Gen. Gus Perna, commanding general, Army Materiel Command. IMCOM became a major subordinate command to AMC in March 2019.
"We're in the middle of a culture change, and it is you who is changing our culture," Perna said. "My job is to give you the tools and resources you need to complete your mission."
According to Perna, one key aspect of readiness that installations shape, and a top quality of life initiative for the Chief of Staff of the Army, is housing.
At Fort Leonard Wood, chains of command, the Directorate of Public Works and on-post housing contractor Balfour Beatty have been working diligently to identify and address residents' concerns.
In addition to town hall meetings, Fort Leonard Wood Garrison Commander Col. Eric Towns said command teams have visited every home on the installation to document issues and concerns, and to receive feedback from residents regarding on-post housing. Each resident's concerns have been captured in a consolidated database so the Garrison Housing Division can monitor the progress of the housing partner's maintenance execution. Towns said the Garrison team will continue to monitor the Fort Leonard Wood Homes' processing of those issues.
"One of my chief responsibilities is to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents here at Fort Leonard Wood," Towns said. "I take that responsibility very seriously."
A 24-hour hotline was also established as another avenue for residents to voice their concerns directly to the Garrison Housing Office.
The Garrison Emergency Operation Center Housing Hotline can be reached at 573.329.3926, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Balfour Beatty also offers RentCafé, a phone application and online platform for residents found at https://www.rentcafe.com/residentservices/apartmentsforrent/userlogin.aspx.
Residents can submit a work order, track the progress and even verify when the work was complete, said Luis Rosario-Febus, Housing Division chief.
"Service members will need to register to the portal and they can submit and track work orders on their home computers or mobile phones," he said. "Reservists, foreign military personnel, civilians, and retirees living on post can pay their rent on the mobile phone, as well. Active-duty personnel pay their rent through allotment, but still can use the RentCafé portal to access and submit work orders."
Residents are also encouraged to participate in the fall Army housing survey by emailing armyhousingsurvey@celassociates.com and requesting a survey. All responses are confidential, but residents have the option of providing contact information if they wish.
"We owe our Soldiers and their families safe, high-quality housing," former Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley, said. "That did not happen in a troubling number of cases and that is unacceptable. We have to do better, and we will."
(Editor's note: Information for this story was provided by IMCOM Public Affairs.)