Tenant feedback drives housing programs improvement

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  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Air Force housing program officials are analyzing data from the calendar year 2021 Department of Defense Annual Tenant Satisfaction Survey for trends and ways to improve the enterprise’s housing portfolio and tenant experience (OMB Control Number: 0704-0553 OMB Exp Date: 03/31/2022).

Overall, Air Force privatized housing projects scored an average rating of 77.7 on the survey, which concluded on Dec. 17, 2021. The Air Force’s target metric is 75 or higher. In 2020, the Air Force privatized housing program scored 77.2.

Robert Moriarty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, said the improvement relative to last year is a result of the projects’ increased focus on customer service, additional Air Force oversight implemented over the past year, and to projects’ recovery from backlogs of maintenance and service requests caused by precautionary health and safety measures implemented by the project owners in response to COVID-19.

“We depend on honest feedback from the tenants to help us assess the performance of the projects and to understand where adjustments are needed to improve the resident experience,” Moriarty said.

The overall score is a general indicator of project health and will aid leadership in constructing sustainment plans, budgets and financial restructuring. The scores are comprised of ratings in nine business success factors: readiness to solve problems, responsiveness and follow-through, property appearance and condition, quality of management service, quality of leasing, quality of maintenance, property rating, relationship rating and renewal intention. Within each category, tenants answer a set of questions using a sliding scale.

The Air Force takes tenant feedback seriously and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center works with military housing offices and project owners to address concerns raised in the survey.  The survey was distributed to the Department of the Air Force’s 67 privatized housing locations with an overall response rate of 29.6 percent.

Thirteen installations were honored with the CEL Crystal Service Award for their outstanding performance in 2021. The award recognizes installations with multiple neighborhoods that receive an overall score of 85 or higher and 20 or higher response rate.

CEL Crystal Service Award recipients

Moody AFB, Georgia (BBC-ACC III)

Hurlburt Field, Florida * (Mayroad)

Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina * (Mayroad)

McConnell AFB, Kansas * (Mayroad)

Tyndall AFB, Florida * (BBC)

Beale AFB, Califonia (BBC)

Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota * (BBC)

Tinker AFB, Oklahoma (BBC)

Peterson AFB, Colorado * (Lendlease)

Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona (Lendlease)

Scott AFB, Illinois (Hunt)

Eglin AFB, Florida (Mayroad)

Dyess AFB, Texas * (BBC-ACC III)

* Awarded two years in a row

“We are proud of the projects that stood out,” said Yvonne Brabham, said acting chief of the AFCEC Air Force Housing Division. “We are grateful to them for providing our military families with safe, quality, affordable, well-maintained housing communities where they choose to live.”

Representatives from each military department, Office of the Secretary of Defense and the third-party survey company worked together to evaluate and clarify questions used following congressional testimony highlighting the possibility of misinterpretation. For example, the term “property manager” left many tenants unsure as to whether they were evaluating the MHO, or the private company charged with property management.

The survey questions were restructured to ensure their effectiveness at capturing a project’s health and tenants’ sentiment in relation to the Air Force housing program. The changes made are to ensure the integrity of tenant feedback and to improve the trust tenants have in the tools provided to them to voice their concerns directly to the project owner, MHO and AFCEC.

“Project owners of locations that received scores below 69.5 are required to submit an action plan to AFCEC within 60 days of the survey data being released, and will be required to work closely with their installation’s housing office to monitor and track their progress, reporting up to AFCEC at quarterly intervals,” said Brabham.

“Tangible changes have been implemented in the Air Force housing program that many tenants have started to see, such as a more robust satisfaction survey,” Brabham said. “The Air Force understands we have more to do and are now better equipped with the feedback provided from our Airmen and Guardians to take the necessary measures to provide the quality housing that our servicemembers deserve.”