Housing mayors sought to represent communities, enhance quality of life

By Sean Kimmons, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsOctober 23, 2023

The Housing Office at Camp Zama, Japan, is searching for volunteers to join its mayoral program to help increase the quality of life for on-post housing residents. Community housing mayors provide relevant information to residents and improve communication between them and housing officials.
The Housing Office at Camp Zama, Japan, is searching for volunteers to join its mayoral program to help increase the quality of life for on-post housing residents. Community housing mayors provide relevant information to residents and improve communication between them and housing officials. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The Housing Office here is searching for volunteers to join its mayoral program to help increase the quality of life for on-post housing residents.

Community housing mayors provide relevant information to residents and improve communication between them and housing officials.

“It’s a way for the community to have a representative — someone they can bring their concerns and issues to that they may see in the area,” said Jesus Chavarria, the housing division chief.

The program now only has two mayors in the Camp Zama housing towers. There are opportunities for residents to also represent other housing areas at Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area.

Mayors serve a one-year term and can be reelected or reinstated by the Housing Office. Spouses are encouraged to serve, but Soldiers and Department of Defense civilians can also be considered.

Chavarria said the ideal candidate would be an empathetic person who is willing to listen to other residents and keep the Housing Office informed on any issues. They must also have at least one year left in Japan and reside in the community they would like to represent.

Mayors are a focal point for residents to communicate their concerns, he added, rather than numerous residents contacting the Housing Office about the same issue.

“They can come and tell us what is going on,” Chavarria said, “and then we can go and address it.”

The Housing Office at Camp Zama, Japan, is searching for volunteers to join its mayoral program to help increase the quality of life for on-post housing residents. Community housing mayors provide relevant information to residents and improve communication between them and housing officials.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Housing Office at Camp Zama, Japan, is searching for volunteers to join its mayoral program to help increase the quality of life for on-post housing residents. Community housing mayors provide relevant information to residents and improve communication between them and housing officials. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Housing Office at Camp Zama, Japan, is searching for volunteers to join its mayoral program to help increase the quality of life for on-post housing residents. Community housing mayors provide relevant information to residents and improve communication between them and housing officials.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Housing Office at Camp Zama, Japan, is searching for volunteers to join its mayoral program to help increase the quality of life for on-post housing residents. Community housing mayors provide relevant information to residents and improve communication between them and housing officials. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

Volunteers can also become assistant coordinators to support mayors with projects and activities within their communities as well as serve as the mayor if needed.

Chavarria said the mayoral program is similar to a homeowners association that supports residents and ensures that policies, such as rules on noise, trash and lawn care, are being followed.

The Housing Office provides services to over 1,300 military members and civilian sponsors, and 2,000 family members. Of them, nearly 140 families reside in the pair of housing towers here.

The goal of the mayoral program is to “keep the peace” among residents, Chavarria said, and provide them a comfortable living environment where they can take pride in their housing area.

“You’re away from home, you’re away from what you’re used to,” he said, “and you just want a sense of community, which is what we’re trying to help with this mayor program.”

As the program develops, Chavarria hopes to organize a monthly meeting with the mayors to allow them to discuss issues and provide recommendations to improve the quality of life in their respective communities.

“Having [mayors] would really help us out by pointing out what needs action,” he said.

(Editor’s Note: Residents who are interested in serving as a housing mayor or assistant coordinator can contact Chavarria at DSN: 263-3441 or 046-407-3441.)

Related links:

U.S. Army Garrison Japan news

USAG Japan official website