WTOC Investigates: Fixing Fort Stewart

Published: Jul. 31, 2019 at 5:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2019 at 5:13 PM EDT
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FORT STEWART, Ga. (WTOC) - This year, the military declared it has a housing crisis with its on-base units. WTOC looked into the results of a national survey, and 70 men and women living at Ft. Stewart voiced concerns.

Romney Smith and Wright Gazaway went to Ft. Stewart to tour housing and ask top leaders what is being done to help local families living there.

When WTOC sat down with military leaders at Fort Stewart, they told us they’re aware of concerns and wanted to do a survey.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of respondents that we had, and it really goes to show, these aren’t one off issues. Its widespread problems, and it’s something that needs to be acted on.”

Shannon Razsadin with the Military Family Advisory Network says 70,000 responders shared concerns. Among the 70 responders at Fort Stewart, the top issues were maintenance repairs, mold, and structural concerns among a long list of other concerns. The Military Family Advisory Network says they had to bring the data to the attention of the Department of Defense.

WTOC sat down with Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Colonel Jason Wolter to get his reaction to the housing concerns.

“There are areas we can do better at. We acknowledge that, and we’re responsible for holding our partner accountable, and as we do this, we want to make sure our families are taken care of,” Col. Wolter said.

Will Ingram is the Chief of Operations and Maintenance at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. He works closely with Balfour Beatty, the private company who maintains the military housing. Ingram says any issue dealing with life, health or safety are addressed immediately.

“So if someone has a leaky faucet, a problem with their HVAC when it’s over 85 degrees like it is now, or a mold related concern, we try to solve that within 24 hours,” Ingram said.

Leaders say anyone with a housing issue should call 912-767-5770. WTOC saw two employees working together on quality control calls to homes that have recently requested service. WTOC’s Romney Smith pressed them about situations where people living on Fort Stewart claim they have called for help several times.

“Viewers say they’ve made calls, and that someone might come out, but it’s not fixed to their satisfaction and they’re concerned about the safety or the health of their children” Smith said.

“I would just ask them to call the hotline number and/or they can contact the housing office if they would like and we will address every single issue,” replied Ingram.

The families who reached out to WTOC say they’re afraid of retaliation if they consistently report issues that are unresolved.

There has not been any reports of retaliation, so I would hope that they’d be willing to share their problems. Quite honestly, that is the focus of the last 90 days across the Army, for every leader. We need feedback,” Colonel Wolter said.

Whether its older housing that will be replaced, or newer housing, leaders say they want to fix the housing issues.

“We are committed to making sure customers are satisfied with the support they’re receiving from BBC,” Ingram said.

Colonel Wolter says he has weekly meetings with Balfort Beatty, and they have future housing plans all the way out to the year 2045.

In part three on Thursday, we will drill down on what the Army is doing in the next few months and their promise to all military members and their families living on post.

To see Part 1 of this story, click here.

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