Maximizing mission readiness from the home front

  • Published
  • By Michelle Martin
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Military readiness and preparedness comes from a multitude of places. For many stationed here, that starts at home.

The Privatized Housing Neighborhood Resident Council of Sheppard AFB has officially kicked off starting with its first meeting since COVID-19.

The council will meet quarterly and be instrumental to Sheppard AFB members and families living in base housing. This is explained in the council’s charter as a way for residents to “discuss health and safety concerns, identify improvements, present solutions for problems and establish positive interaction between residents, installation leadership, the Military Housing Office and Balfour Beatty.”

“This will be a helpful resource, specifically for our military residents, allowing them a place to discuss residential concerns, ideas they may have for the community and also things they think should be prioritized,” said Dixie Harding, Sheppard AFB privatized housing resident advocate.

For Sheppard AFB, Balfour Beatty is the private entity currently servicing military housing.

In more recent years, the United States military across all branches, has turned over its once military-governed residences to private housing management. This has allowed for better allocation of time and money in the areas of maintenance and regular upkeep for the military members who reside in base housing. It also provides better quality of life for military members as they are able to have better resolutions for housing health concerns, safety and security.

Harding said the main concern for Sheppard’s Military Housing Office is the military members and their families. The residential council can shed light on concerns residents have, not only to the other members of the council, but to her, the resident advocate. This acts as a bridge between the management company and military housing residents.

“I am the one who will go to Balfour Beatty on their behalf if we see work orders are not being completed, or the residents are not receiving answers soon enough on issues, which can lead to major home and work-life disruptions,” she said.

Harding emphasized the need for base housing residents to make sure they are taking the first steps on their own to initialize contact with the property management, and to allow for them to work the issue first. If the proper steps are not being taken on their behalf, this is where council and advocacy can begin.

Sheppard AFB currently has three housing neighborhoods: Heritage Heights, Freedom Estates and Wind Creek Village. Each neighborhood will have a minimum of two representatives who reside there and will be in attendance of all council meetings. They will also be charged with relaying relevant information to the families in their neighborhoods.

In the most recent meeting, topics of discussion included the gated entrance of Freedom Estates, carbon dioxide detectors, HVAC cleanings, residential repairs from recent storms and other needs specific to the homes of those neighborhoods.

“We are committed to the residents in our neighborhoods and want to ensure a positive experience and quality living place,” Harding said. “This equates not only to mission ready Airmen, but happy families, too.”

The council is actively seeking new representatives for Wind Creek Village and Heritage Heights as the current members will be leaving Sheppard AFB for new duty stations. There are a list of qualifications to hold the positions and can be requested by contacting Harding at 940-676-4663.

Residents can also join the Sheppard Housing Resident Advocate Facebook page. The already 135-member-strong group discusses ongoing issues, resolutions and events. Harding moderates and answers many of the questions and concerns herself as well as makes sure residents get the correct and up-to-date information they are seeking. 

The next NRC meeting is tentatively scheduled for August at the Balfour Beatty Community Center in Wind Creek Village. Date and time is to be announced.