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Air Force works with project owners to protect health of Airmen and families amid COVID-19 outbreak

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) --

With the evolving COVID-19 situation, privatized housing project owners have assured the Air Force that emergency and urgent work orders should and will continue to be addressed while routine maintenance has been temporarily suspended for many privatized projects.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is coordinating with each project owner for their specific plan on minimizing social interaction and increasing social distancing at their projects while maintenance is being performed in Airmen’s homes and during leasing operations, said Col. Michael Beach, Air Force Housing Program chief. Project owners are taking precautionary measures to protect residents and workers, including minimizing contact by suspending routine maintenance activities, and implementing screening procedures before engaging residents or entering homes.

Project owners classify their work orders into the following three categories:

Emergency work orders: examples include sparking outlets, a water or gas-line break, inoperative entry door locks, a broken window, a leaky roof, or a non-functioning toilet in a home with one bathroom.

Urgent work orders: examples include a non-functioning stove or refrigerator, a non-functioning toilet where at least two toilets exist in the home, an inoperative heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, and lockouts.

Routine work order: examples include an inoperative dishwasher, a leaky faucet, a torn screen on a door or window, slow drains, an inoperative light, a cracked window and sticky locks.

“Air Force housing officials recommend residents work directly with project owners to address maintenance concerns,” Beach said. Each project owner has issued guidance to their residents on how they plan to implement preventive measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, e.g. social distancing, encouraging residents to call the leasing office instead of visiting in person, etc. For additional support with unaddressed or persistent housing issues, Airmen can reach out to their installation’s military housing office, their chain of command, and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s toll-free housing helpline at (800)-482-6431.

Leasing operations will continue as normal, and residents are encouraged to practice social distancing and other preventive measures. Installation commanders received guidance from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center on how to best stay plugged in to the preventive measures being taken by the project owner at their base and are encouraged to look at health conscious ways of holding resident councils and leadership briefings with project owners such as teleconferences.

“Project owners will continue to be held to the quality and customer service standards set forth in the project documents for the work they perform,” said The Honorable John W. Henderson, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy. “The Air Force is working closely with its project owners to ensure that residents’ maintenance requests continue to be addressed while observing health conscious preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of maintenance personnel, Airmen and their families from coming into contact with the coronavirus.”

For more specific guidance on the preventive practices in place at an individual installation, privatized housing residents should reach out to their project owner. Government housing residents can obtain further details from their installation’s military housing office.

For up to date information on COVID-19 and how it relates to the Air Force, visit https://www.af.mil/News/Coronavirus-Disease-2019/.

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