FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army took a major step forward on January 5 to improve privatized housing by approving terms negotiated by Lendlease, a company that has partnered with the Army to own and operate housing on multiple installations, for $1.1 billion in capital investment from public financial institutions.
This investment of private-sector funding will allow Lendlease to accelerate their planned sustainment program at Army installations by more than 10 years. Lendlease owns and operates military housing nationally, which includes over 26,000 Army homes. It is one of the U.S. Army’s seven major private housing partners.
"Lendlease is proud to be a trusted partner of the Army and the U.S. Department of Defense. We stand committed, alongside our Army partners, to continue improving the quality of life for service members and their families now and into the future,” said Denis Hickey, CEO, Lendlease Americas. “Thanks to privatization and our innovative approach to financing, we’re able to expedite our improvement plans, allocating funds to projects based on those with the greatest needs and priorities, without appropriations from Congress.”
This additional private-sector investment will accelerate significant improvements to 12,000 existing homes on Fort Hood, Fort Campbell, Fort Knox, Fort Wainwright, Fort Drum and Army housing on Oahu. The investment will also enable the construction of over 1,200 new homes on Fort Hood, Fort Campbell, Fort Knox and Fort Wainwright. A significant portion of the total investment will be given to Fort Hood, one of the Army’s largest installations.
“Under the guidance of Army senior leaders to ensure the readiness of our force and quality of life for Soldiers and their families, we have reached an extraordinary milestone with Lendlease,” Commander of Army Materiel Command Gen. Ed Daly said. “This additional investment will go a long way in improving the quality of homes for Soldiers and their families.”
Each Army installation has long-term sustainment plans that include capital repair, replacement and reinvestment. These plans provide details on the future development and investment required to maintain and improve housing over the long term.
Investments like this will allow the Army and its private-sector partners to continue to improve on-post housing and to maintain the availability of housing necessary at each installation. The Army has previously approved the efforts of other privatized housing companies to attract sufficient additional private-sector investments to fund the development and renovation of over 3,500 homes and total replacement of more than 800 additional homes.
“We are getting in front of housing issues,” Daly said. “Commanders at all levels are engaged. Our leaders and housing staffs continue to address problems quickly. The feedback loops – such as web-based apps, installation town halls and helpdesk lines to ensure our residents can quickly identify and report problems – are working. Leaders and housing company personnel are responding quickly, and we are seeing significant results.”
Fort Hood's commanding general later released a statement about the investment into on-post housing.
“Today, the Army announced that Fort Hood will receive significant funding to upgrade and build new housing for enlisted Soldiers Work will begin in summer 2021. Thank you to the Soldiers and Families who participated in various town halls, focus groups, and surveys; this accelerated funding is a direct result of your input during those open forums. I look forward to seeing our Soldiers and their families in modern housing that they can be proud to call home. People are our greatest asset, and we owe it to the Soldiers and families who work and live here to provide them the best housing possible,” III Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. Pat White said.
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hood Commander Col. Jason Wesbrock said the Army base is excited about the renovation.
"Fort Hood is excited to learn of additional monies earmarked toward renovating our existing housing as well as new construction as announced today by the Department of the Army and Lendlease. We look forward to continuing work with our partners at Fort Hood Family Housing to provide quality housing for our Soldiers and their families," Wesbrock said.
6 News has previously reported on issues with Fort Hood Family Housing. Multiple families filed a civil suit against Fort Hood Family Housing.
"We moved to Fort Hood in December of 2018 and we left all of our belongings behind in March of 2019. It only took a few months for our lives to be destroyed by Fort Hood Family Housing," Sarah Proulx who is involved with the suit said.
6 News spoke with Proulx and another woman, Courtney Hamilton, involved with the suit about the $1.1 billion for housing improvements at different installations including Fort Hood. Both point out their issues with the company Lendlease.
"My opinion, they band-aid and they patch what they can and I just don't see how a company who has a track record of getting to where we are right now, how it's going to be any different now that they have 1.1 billion dollars," Hamilton said.
"I think that on the surface it may seem really great. I'm sure that a lot of people in our community will see the news of this announcement and think 'wow that's great that families are going to get new housing', but we have concerns about how this money will be spent and what intentions that Army leadership has in working through these projects and holding Lendlease accountable this time," Proulx said.
6 News reached out to Lendlease for comment regarding the comments about Lendlease being the issue. We have not heard back as of this writing.
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