Redstone Arsenal is among the best in Army housing, according to results from an Army Tenant Satisfaction Survey released April 14.
The 2021 TSS was intended to chronicle customer satisfaction regarding military housing for both privatized and Army owned/leased housing. Housing at Redstone Arsenal has been privatized since 2006 per the Military Housing Privatization Initiative. The Army partners with Hunt Military Communities to provide service members, retirees, civilians and contractors on-post housing if they so choose.
Ray Zapata, Garrison housing chief, said he was pleased with the results of the survey and looks forward to making even more improvements in the coming year.
Redstone Arsenal placed fourth in overall satisfaction out of the 43 installations with privatized housing with a score of 85.3. Redstone was also one of only four installations whose score qualified them for the “outstanding” category. The top-scoring installations included Fort Greely, Alaska; Yuma Proving Ground, Utah; and Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Redstone Arsenal also had the second-highest survey response rate at 46.6%.
Zapata credits this success to a process that began more than two years ago with a Senate hearing on Feb. 13, 2019. The Senate Subcommittees on Personnel and Readiness and Committee on Armed Services convened to evaluate complaints from military families who were dealing with hazards in their MHPI homes including mold, mildew, infestations and structural issues, among others.
Though the situation on Redstone Arsenal was not as severe as other installations, the hearing provided a wake-up call for all Army installations, and improvements began immediately.
“Feb. 15, 2019, was kind of when everything really kicked off and started – the additional eyes on the property, holding town halls, putting together a plan for greater oversight,” Zapata said. “We already performed an oversight with respect to the private partner, but I think that oversight got a little more focused and zeroed in on specific areas, i.e., work orders, in greater detail, and what they refer to as between-occupancy maintenance, or a BOM inspection, where we inspect the homes of those service members prior to them taking up residency in those homes.”
A successful partnership between Army leadership and Hunt management has enabled continued success. Zapata said Brittany Morrison, Redstone Family Housing community director, and Brad Mundon, the maintenance director, are largely to thank for the recent improvements.
“(Mundon) has really turned around the work orders,” Zapata said. “Redstone was probably looking at a backlog at one time of 4, 5, 600 work orders back in early 2019. I think when he came on board, that number had gotten down to around 400 or so, and we are literally now at probably 30 or 40 work orders currently, so really awesome job on getting those things down.”
Morrison said her main goal since taking over as community director in May 2020 has been to increase and maintain communication between the management company and residents, ensuring that customer service remains the top priority for all Hunt employees.
Hunt maintains eight neighborhoods on Redstone Arsenal: Columbia Centre, Challenger Heights, Saturn Pointe, New Endeavor, Endeavor Village, Freedom Landing, Voyager Village and Pathfinder Pointe. The neighborhoods have a combined 353 units, including 217 single-family homes, 44 duplexes and 12 quads. According to the most recent estimate, 336 of those units were occupied, although Zapata said this number is subject to change on an almost daily basis.
The majority of the on-post housing population comprises military retirees, who made up 38.69% of the occupancy based on recent numbers. Active duty military accounts for another 37.8%, divided between officers (15.48%), enlisted service members (19.05%) and National Guard and Reserves (3.27%). The remainder of the population is composed of federal employees (19.35%) and federal contractors (4.17%).
“I couldn’t do it without the team that we have in place,” Morrison said. “It’s definitely a team effort.”
Although Redstone received impressive scores in most categories, Zapata said that the TSS revealed several areas where improvement is needed. These include things like landscaping, appliances, lighting and other hardware. Addressing those issues begins now: Over the next year, Housing plans to spend $3-4 million on minor renovations for approximately 120 homes. These improvements will include upgrades to siding, roofs and windows, placing privacy screens in some neighborhoods, and removing some trees and will largely affect the Challenger Heights, Columbia Centre and Freedom Landing neighborhoods.
“I’m excited about what the future brings,” Zapata said. “I think here at Redstone we’ve kind of turned a corner. I like to think we’ve got one of the best community directors and maintenance directors in the game today. They’re doing a great job ... They’re very good at their jobs and professional, smart, they teach me something every day. It’s good to be in housing. Sometimes we can’t say that, because, you know, February 2019 rolled around and things were looking pretty dismal. I think the sun is shining on Redstone right now – knock on wood.”