FORT HOOD, TX — Just weeks after Secretary of the Army Mark Esper called military housing conditions "unconscionable," mandatory home visits kicked off nationwide.
Following the Senate Armed Services Hearing in early February, military installations across the United States called on families to describe their living conditions, including those on Fort Hood.
When Army officials received several complaints about lead paint, mold and rodents in military housing, it prompted immediate action from the Department of the Army.
Officials directed leaders to make home visits to 100 percent of residential buildings and barracks on Army installations across the nation.
"The department of the Army has recently discovered that there may be instances across the country where our soldiers are not living in housing that is appropriate for everyday living," Cpt. Ryan Ellis said. "We are looking for water damage across the home, any signs of moisture or mold, cracked paint in the walls and ceilings, any cracked tiles in the flooring that might be a concern."
According to Mack Quinney with Fort Hood family housing, they receive roughly 60,000 work orders a year and the home visits are a good learning tool to help them better-manage those requests.
"We are changing our operations, we are taking a deep dive into our maintenance protocols and how we do business. I think we need to focus on our maintenance side of the house, the change of occupancy, probably need to do some changes in our operation there and do some quality checks," Quinney said.
Quinney added that Fort Hood Family Housing is also working to establish an advocate system for resident that aren't getting the help they need. In the meantime though, Quinney said he is just asking for patience.
"It's going to take some time to understand what we might be missing and need to improve on and that's our goal in all of this is to improve our service," Quinney said.
Fort Hood officials said, as of Wednesday, the home visits to residential buildings and barracks on post were 50 percent complete.
Fort Hood leaders as well as leaders on other Army posts have until March 18 to complete the visits.
Officials said once all of the complaints have been gathered, they will be sent up the chain and put into a database, which will give army leaders a better idea of the biggest problems soldiers are facing in their homes.