MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
The Honorable John W. Henderson, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy, toured privatized housing units Jan. 14, 2020, during a visit to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
The visit was a part of Air Force senior leadership’s mission to improve the safety and quality of privatized housing on military installations.
Henderson said that early last year, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff instructed base commanders to perform health and safety checks on all base housing across the Air Force. Installation leaders visited about 11,000 homes, resulting in more than 5,300 work orders, all of which have been cleared, he said.
“So the first step was, let’s make sure we go in and fix all of those initial issues that were causing the problems in the first place,” said Henderson. “The next step is to get after the answer of why there were those issues in the first place and why weren’t they being properly addressed. So this is where we’re partnering with the privatized project owner, the Air Force inspector general and in some cases Congress.”
The Air Force has launched an improvement program for privatized housing, working 51 initiatives across the following five lines of effort:
- Empower Residents
- Improve Oversight
- Integrate Leadership
- Improve Communication
- Standardize Policy
One of the new initiatives is a resident’s “bill of rights,” being developed jointly with the other services. When published, it will provide residents a tool to resolve housing issues, and help educate Airmen about their rights as privatized housing tenants, Henderson said. Henderson said he is well aware of the issues Maxwell has had with its housing, specifically the older and historic homes.
“There’s a significant improvement from the last time I was here at Maxwell, so under the corrective action plan with the Air Force and Hunt, we have made great improvements over the last four or five years,” he said.
Henderson added that during his walk through of some of the homes, he noticed some infrastructure issues, but said the Air Force and the project owner are aware of the issues and are working together with a corrective plan of action.
“The safety and welfare of our Airmen and their families is a top priority for the senior leaders of the Air Force and we are absolutely committed to addressing these issues and resolving the problems that we are having in privatized housing,” said Henderson. “I encourage our Airmen to raise any issues or concerns to their immediate leadership because we can’t solve problems that we don’t know about. Henderson went on to say that the leadership of the Air Force is wholly committed to ensuring we resolve these issues and put systems in place so that when there are challenges in the future they can be resolved.