Army housing in Germany and Italy gets failing marks in latest quality survey
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 23, 2020
STUTTGART, Germany — Housing at Army posts in Germany and Italy is “very poor” and in need of significant improvements, the results of a survey of Army families in the U.S. and overseas show.
Army-owned housing in Stuttgart, Germany, and Vicenza, Italy, ranked 23rd and 24th, respectively, out of 26 sites where residents were asked to respond to questions about the quality of their accommodation and services, a summary published Monday showed.
Services provided in Stuttgart were at “crisis” level, meaning there was a “major problem” at the property and “corrective measures must be taken without delay,” the summary said.
Although the report didn’t specify what the problems were at any of the low-ranking sites, Stuttgart was grappling with a backlog of nearly 2,000 work orders, some dating back to 2018, around the time the survey was conducted in November and December of last year.
The backlog stemmed from an understaffed contractor that was unable to keep up with service requests, officials said in October as U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart launched a surge to fix issues that included broken-down elevators and defective heating systems.
Housing in Vicenza, which is home to U.S. Army Garrison Italy and the 173rd Airborne Brigade, also scored poorly. Like their counterparts in Stuttgart, personnel in Vicenza have been vocal about dissatisfaction with Army-owned housing over the past year, complaining about everything from mold to slow responses to their requests for repairs or remediation.
Last year, Army garrisons around the world began holding town hall meetings on the state of family housing after investigations revealed poor living conditions in facilities in the U.S. and overseas.
The housing surveys aim to measure whether progress has been made in fixing issues indicated by residents, and gauge how families feel about the accommodation the Army provides.
“The action we take from these survey results will be another step to hold ourselves and privatized housing companies accountable to provide a high-quality standard of living and to earn back the trust of our housing residents,” Gen. Gus Perna, Army Materiel Command chief, said in a statement Monday.
Army-owned facilities in Wiesbaden, Rheinland-Pfalz and most housing in Bavaria were rated as “poor” in the survey. Ansbach, in Bavaria, was an exception, getting an average score.
Properties leased by the Army in Italy and Bavaria also got average scores, and leased properties in the Benelux countries were ranked as “good,” the highest rating for Army housing in Europe.
Army housing in the Pacific outperformed Europe, with Camp Zama in Japan earning an “outstanding” overall score of 4.29 out of a possible total of five. Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia received the highest marks of any facility, scoring 4.88 out of five.
Stuttgart and Vicenza scored 2.92 and 2, respectively.
More than 2,300 households responded to the survey, which was conducted by CEL & Associates Inc.
A duplex on Villagio, U.S. Army Garrison Italy's on-base housing. Army-owned and -leased housing in Stuttgart, Germany and Italy ranked 23rd and 24th, respectively, out of 26 sites examined in a quality survey conducted in the U.S. and overseas, a report released June 22, 2020 says.
NANCY MONTGOMERY/STARS AND STRIPES