JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
When base housing across the Department of Defense faced scrutiny, programs and positions were implemented to improve housing and give residents a better way to help get their issues resolved.
A Privatized Housing Resident Advocate empowers military residents to identify and resolve privatized housing challenges across military installations.
Joseph Powell, the 628th Air Base Wing privatized housing resident advocate, said the position was created so residents of military bases have someone to advocate for them.
“In 2019, Congress held all military services accountable for the ineffective resolution of health, safety and security issues in privatized housing,” he said. “Congress established requirements for the resident advocate position in the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.”
Powell said the position is important because it provides base residents with someone to support them and act as a bridge between residents and base leadership.
“Resident advocates report to their installation's vice wing commander, or deputy commander at a Joint Base, advocate for housing residents and advise senior staff and leadership across the wing,” he said. “They are key advisors to wing leadership, and are responsible for crafting and leading the strategy for, and execution of, critical advocacy services on behalf of military members and their families. Resident advocates focus on maximizing mission readiness by driving a culture which ensures military members and their families live in safe, healthy and secure privatized housing residences.”
Powell explained how he can help residents resolve concerns and issues.
“Resident advocates act as a liaison between privatized housing residents, military housing office, privatized housing project owner and installation commander, for issues pertaining to resident’s rights and advocacy,” he said. “RAs coordinate with MHO to identify and implement resolutions to complex issues, research project transaction documents, policies, procedures, resources and maintenance and work order services in support of members and their families who lease privatized housing. RA’s will also present residents’ issues and concerns, to MHO and, or PO and facilitates constructive dialogue amongst parties to find a mutually satisfactory solution. As a key leader for the installation resident council, the RA will also provide briefings or reports to the installation wing Commander on resident concerns.”
Powell said the resident council was implemented to help start improvement projects and bring attention to other issues residents have, and housing members have multiple channels to voice their concerns.
“We want to make sure we have people that volunteer and want to be a part of the council so we can hear their voice,” he said. “That’s an avenue for them to speak straight to wing leadership about how they feel, whether that is good or bad. We meet quarterly and if anyone is interested in joining, they can contact me or their project owner.”
Powell stated that he wants to ensure that residents living on base know about all the resources they have to help solve issues and raise concerns.
“I think sometimes people get confused on how to get their issues with base housing resolved or they suffer in silence,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone knows the steps of how to work through their issues and I feel that if they follow the steps, they will get resolution.”
Powell said for residents who reside in Hunt Housing, the first step is to bring their concerns or issues to the privatized housing property management office at 843-552-0600. For residents who reside in Balfour Beatty, the first step is to bring their concern or issue to the local management office at 843-797-5631.