Over the past year, the Directorate of Public Works has been gathering information on housing and resident satisfaction and on what residents would like to see in the future.
In November and December 2019, almost 23% of residents provided feedback in an online housing survey, which was an increase of more than 5% over the same survey sent last spring. After a high-level focus on housing and initiatives being implemented Armywide, the survey was sent again in the winter to measure any changes.
While many of the survey questions focused on privatized housing found in the states, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden residents provided responses specifically for Army-owned housing.
“We appreciate our residents taking the time to provide us feedback,” said Garrison Commander Col. Noah Cloud. “We recognize we have areas where we can improve, and we have made a lot of changes over the past year. It’s important for us to keep the lines of communication open so we know what’s working and what isn’t.”
The most common comments and concerns addressed five main areas within housing. The housing assignment policy that mandates on-post living for families and many single service members was mentioned in a majority of responses. This topic will be forwarded to the U.S. Army Europe and Installation Management Command–Europe level to be addressed as those agencies set the policies for living on post.
Many comments were shared about government furnished appliances and the need for frequent repair or replacement. The Housing Office is looking at the age of items in its inventory and at implementing a new lifecycle replacement program.
Grounds maintenance was on the list of concerns for many residents. A newly established Area Beautification Committee has been addressing ways to improve the look of the installation and housing areas, and DPW is reviewing the grounds maintenance contract to see where modifications might be made to improve neighborhood care.
Housing customer service and the assignment process was another hot topic in survey responses. Over the past year, housing has opened neighborhood centers to decentralize the assignment process and revised the policy about how homes are assigned. Since the spring survey, housing staff has received additional customer service training, and further information on the assignment process is being outlined in a housing action plan to provide further transparency on the process.
Housing and community security was brought up in resident responses, especially from residents in the open housing areas of Aukamm and Crestview. Patrols through these neighborhoods have increased and housing is looking into better ways to secure trash and other public areas.
Numerous positive comments in the surveys highlighted the responsiveness of DPW personnel to work orders and the quality of the housing at USAG Wiesbaden.
The Army will use the survey results as one of several tools to continue identifying ways to improve housing conditions by enhancing communication with residents, creating and prioritizing action plans to correct deficiencies, and identifying items that are most important to residents.
The goal of these successive surveys is to quantify, compare and evaluate performance over time. Army leaders are committed to further improving housing conditions, and the survey results will help to shape future housing quality and services.
The Army’s release is available at: www.army.mil/article/236599, and a summary of the results is available at https://www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv7/families/2019_fall_survey_afh_summary.pdf.