The Army released the results of its 2021 Tenant Satisfaction Survey on Friday. Responses showed an overall increase in satisfaction with military housing.
Between December 2020 and January 2021, independent contractors administered an anonymous, standardized DoD survey across five categories of housing at 21 installations, reaching a total of 126 neighborhoods.
Overall property and service scores for Army-owned and leased housing averaged 72.9 out of 100 points, a 3.4-point increase over last year.
Privatized housing remained steady at 75.4 points, an increase of only 0.3 from 2020.
“A higher number of residents participated in this year’s survey, and overall satisfaction rates improved as well,” said, Michael E. Reheuser, director of the Army’s Installation Services. “We are encouraged by the results, and the responses will help us determine how to continue improving the quality of life of our residents.”
The survey came after news reports and hearings nearly two years ago detailing mold, vermin, water leaks, and other problems in privatized housing. Among the problems identified in these hearings were lack of DoD oversight and issues with surveys. The Government Accountability Office recommended in March 2020 that the DoD improve its processes of collecting and calculating tenant satisfaction.
Real estate service providers Jones Lang Lasalle and CEL & Associates invited more than 85,000 residents to participate in the survey. A total of 24,483 responded, an increase of 4.4 percent for privatized housing and 3.3 percent for Army-owned or leased housing from the 2020 survey.
Scores increased in the categories of Europe-owned and leased, readiness-owned, sustainment-owned and leased, and Pacific-owned and leased. “Other leased” was the only category to see a decrease in score and was comprised solely of a neighborhood located at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
Categories were evaluated in regards to both property and service satisfaction.
Tenants responded to each survey question regarding service or property satisfaction using a five-point Likert rating scale. Ratings were then placed into three satisfaction indexes on a scale from 0 to 100.
Though Europe-owned and leased housing improved by 4.5 points, scores in this category were still labeled average (74.9 to 70) or below average (69.9 to 65).
To differentiate between owned and leased housing, the initial 21 installations surveyed were broken down into 27. 19 of the 27 installations ranked in the outstanding, very good, good, or average range of 70-100 points. Five installations ranked below average and three were considered poor or below.
Ansbach-owned and Italy-owned housing had poor overall scores of 61.7 and 61.6 respectively. Housing at Hawthorne Army Depot, Nevada, was labeled as in crisis with an overall score of 47.6 points.
A majority of respondents self-selected their rank as E5-E6 (27.8 percent), E7-E9 (18.8 percent), or O4-O5 (14 percent).
“The results of this survey will be used by installation leadership, in conjunction with government housing managers and private company property managers, to further refine action plans to address deficiencies and prioritize resources,” said Reheuser in a press release. “We appreciate everyone who took the time to participate, and look forward to their feedback on how to further improve living conditions.”
The Army is working with privatized companies to add $2.8 billion in new housing developments and renovations over the next five years, according to the same press release. According to the Army’s housing and quality of life website, the service has already invested approximately $2.48 billion in barracks construction and renovation over the past two years.
Harm Venhuizen is an editorial intern at Military Times. He is studying political science and philosophy at Calvin University, where he's also in the Army ROTC program.