Presidio of Monterey ‘Special Response Team’ targets housing safety

By Winifred BrownMarch 18, 2022

Presidio of Monterey ‘Special Response Team’ targets housing safety
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Julian Venegas, maintenance supervisor for The Parks at Monterey Bay and head of the maintenance Special Response Team, prepares a kitchen for repair work at the Ord Military Community, Calif., Feb. 28. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey ‘Special Response Team’ targets housing safety
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Jose Hernandez, a maintenance technician for The Parks at Monterey Bay and member of the Special Response Team, prepares a room for renovation at the Ord Military Community, Calif., Feb. 28. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (March 18, 2022) – When maintenance issues in homes at the Presidio of Monterey involve life, health and safety, the installation has a team of experts who respond with the health of residents in mind.

The Special Response Team includes one administrative assistant and four technicians with special certifications in subjects such as mold remediation, lead and asbestos. Together they use their advanced training to evaluate potentially hazardous repair jobs and improve safety for on-post housing residents.

Richard Alan, Residential Communities Initiative quality assurance manager for U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, said the garrison and The Parks at Monterey Bay started the SRT about three years ago to improve the level of expertise at life, health and safety calls. The Parks manages on-post housing through a public and private partnership with the installation. The USAG PoM housing office oversees The Parks to ensure safe, quality housing.

Alan said the garrison and The Parks work together to provide complete work and thorough oversight.

For example, after SRT personnel take out damaged areas of a home, garrison personnel then check to ensure they did the work correctly and completely, Alan said.

“If the work was done and there are no other issues that we see, or from what they have for their paperwork, and everything is good to go, then we’ll give them the OK to proceed with their build back,” Alan said.

Then, after SRT or a contractor has completed the work, garrison personnel conduct a final inspection and follow up with the family to make sure there are no issues, Alan said.

“It’s like anything else, you fix it, but just because it’s fixed, it doesn’t mean that it’s working correctly,” Alan said. “We’ll always do a follow-up with them to make sure everything is good to go.”

Between 10 and 15% of maintenance calls involve the SRT, Alan said, and the maintenance office calls them in routinely.

Joe Valdez, facility director and head of maintenance for The Parks, said the SRT’s advanced training improves safety because they know how to evaluate repair jobs so issues do not return. They also know when families should move out of a residence.

“If we get a resident who calls and says, ‘I think I have a moisture issue. My floor is a little bit soft,’ or, ‘I see a little bit of mold,’ [we send them in],” Valdez said.

At a job on 4th Division Road in the Ord Military Community the team started Feb. 28, that was exactly the case. A refrigerator water dispenser leaked, causing damage to the floor, and because there was mold, the team moved the family out while they worked. Personnel sealed off the area so mold wouldn’t spread as they removed and replaced materials the water impacted.

Julian Venegas, a maintenance supervisor for The Parks at Monterey Bay, heads the team and planned to have the job done in five days, but said his first priority was completing it well.

“We want to make sure that we attend to the issue correctly and we don’t leave anything behind so the resident can return to their home, or continue living in their house, knowing that any possible health issues are taken care of properly,” Venegas said.

Oscar Ordonez, chief of USAG PoM’s housing office, said if military-affiliated tenants are not satisfied with a repair, it is important they know that the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2020 provides them with rights through the Military Housing Privatization Tenant Bill of Rights.

For example, with respect to maintenance and repairs, tenants have the right to prompt and professional maintenance and repair, Ordonez said. Personnel must inform them of the timeframe for the repairs and receive prompt relocation into a suitable lodging or other housing at no cost until the work is complete.

If at any point a resident is not satisfied with repairs, the first step is to work with the landlord, and if that doesn’t work, residents should seek out the Army housing office or legal assistance, Ordonez said.

To see the entire tenant bill of rights, visit

Alan said it’s important for residents to know how seemingly small issues, such as a leak, can turn into large problems. Residents should call in problems as soon as they see them.

“To [residents], it might just be, ‘Oh I have a small leak underneath my sink,’” Alan said. “It’s nothing bad, but then they don’t understand that small leak, even if they catch it in a bowl or a cup and they throw it away or it just drips once in a while, that small leak will eventually cause mold or mildew or start dry rotting.”

To report issues with housing, contact the USAG PoM housing office at (831) 242-7979.