Army housing in Europe gets low marks in customer survey

A housing area at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, in 2018. Army housing in Europe broadly ranks low in customer satisfaction, a new service survey found, although some installations have improved since last year.


By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 19, 2021

STUTTGART, Germany — Military housing in Europe again fared poorly in a new Army customer satisfaction survey, which showed that garrisons on the Continent are improving but still lag behind their peers in the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Army’s “Tenant Satisfaction Survey” examined 27 housing communities in the U.S. and overseas. Overall, 19 installations rated between outstanding and average, five rated below average and three scored at either poor or crisis level.

Military families, including those in Europe, have voiced concerns in recent years about numerous housing problems, including mold, spotty hot water service and excessive wait times for basic repairs.

“The survey has provided us insight into residents’ feelings about various areas of housing operations and physical structure, and we will use these results to identify areas where we can improve and strive to meet their prioritized needs,” said Mark Heeter, spokesman for Installation Management Command-Europe.

In Europe, only U.S. Army Garrison Benelux achieved a “good” overall score. Army-owned housing at garrisons in Rheinland-Pfalz, Stuttgart, Bavaria and Italy all were designated as below average, which denotes that “performance is just not adequate,” the report said.

Army-owned housing in Ansbach, Germany, and Vicenza, Italy, received a score of “poor.”

“Scores in this range signify substandard performance and strong displeasure with the property and/or the level of service,” the survey report said. “Improvements are needed immediately.”

The only installation that scored worse than Ansbach and Vicenza was Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, which was at the “crisis” level. The report did not discuss specific problems at the installations.

Meanwhile, the Army’s Fort McCoy in Wisconsin had the top overall score. The best overseas post was Camp Zama in Japan.

Europe installations improved over the last year despite their comparative shortcomings, the survey showed.

“While satisfaction did increase, the scores for the Europe Directorate still fall in the range of Below Average indicating additional work is needed,” the report said.

Heeter said the survey results and increased participation among the Army community in Europe means IMCOM-E is getting a “better picture of where we can improve across the board.”

In December, Army officials in Europe said the service plans to spend more than $1 billion over the next six years to improve family housing at its garrisons.

The Army housing satisfaction survey was conducted between December 2020 and January 2021 and asked participants a range of questions related to quality of service, safety and overall condition and satisfaction with their homes.

Twitter: @john_vandiver