by Keith Pannell
Installation Management Command Europe Public Affairs
More than 60 Army housing managers from installations around the world participated in the inaugural housing executive course hosted by Installation Management Command in San Antonio, Aug. 19-23.
Harald Kastner, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz chief of housing, attended the symposium on behalf of the garrison.
“When the housing crisis broke, IMCOM talked with all of the Army housing chiefs by phone and told us there was going to be a meeting and we were required to attend,” Kastner said. “It went very well. Sixty-six housing managers attended 36 different classes and it went all day, every day.”
The classes during the weeklong symposium focused on traditional military-owned housing, privatized housing and barracks, with many group discussions, demonstrations and hands-on learning opportunities, according to Kastner.
“It was eye-opening,” said Kastner, “and we said we can do a little bit more of this or a little bit more of that. They said we need to educate, communicate and be more open.”
This housing manager training was a year in the making. Kastner said this was not a wine-and-dine event. Guest-speakers ranged from general officers to lawyers to current garrison commanders and the IMCOM command sergeant major.
This was the first symposium Kastner has been to and he said he brought back great ideas to share with Greg Williams, Director of Public Works.
Williams said making residents happy with 60-year-old homes can be tough.
“The standard today that we have is not the future Army standard,” Williams said. “The only thing that is going to improve our customer satisfaction rating is new homes.”
Groundbreaking for new homes in Baumholder’s Wetzel Housing is scheduled to begin in Fiscal Year 2022 and should be done by 2025. That is expected to be the first 72 dwelling units. Those units will be townhomes located in the “lower” Wetzel area. The Army has actually purchased a parcel of land to put some of the new housing on. Wetzel will grow to more than 550 units with a mixture of townhomes, new apartments and improvements to existing dwellings.
Both Williams and Kastner encourage anyone with housing issues to submit service orders by calling DPW at 0611-143-531-3060 or DSN 531-3060.
They also said, if a resident is not happy with service, to call them directly. Williams can be reached at 0611-143-541-4000 or DSN 541-4000.
Kastner can be reached at 0611-143-531-2970 or DSN 531-2970.
Editor’s Note: This story has been localized from an IMCOM Public Affairs story dated Aug. 26.