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By Fin Truant, Staff Writer, Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
/ Published September 09, 2021
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Christopher Russell, Schriever Air Force Base privatized housing resident advocate poses for a photo at Schriever AFB, Colorado, June 16, 2021. RAs have the responsibility to advocate for base housing residents’ rights, safe and healthy housing, as well as identifying, validating and assisting in the resolution of resident concerns. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Alexus Wilcox)
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Kyra Mailki, Peterson Air Force Base privatized housing resident advocate poses for a photo at Peterson AFB, Colorado, June 16, 2021. RA goals are to strengthen the relationship between on-base housing residents and the privatized housing project owners and provide base leaders with insight into housing issues on their installations. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Alexus Wilcox)
Peterson-Schriever Garrison leadership has approved the formation of a P-S Garrison Resident Council. The council, which will consist of base residents, will work directly with base leadership representatives and subject matter experts to make a record of and address issues faced by residents of on-base housing at both Peterson and Schriever Space Force Bases. Much like the hiring of private housing resident advocates, this council was created pursuant to the Military Housing Privatization Initiative Tenants’ Bill of Rights, approved by Congress as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. And the RAs are actively seeking residents to participate as council representatives.
“Like a lot of other things, we are in a very interesting spot, because we're the only garrison in the Department of the Air Force that covers housing on two installations,” said Kyra Mailki, Peterson SFB private housing RA. “Our council is going to be a garrison council with two installation committees so that each installation can deal with the things locally that they need to deal with, but we are still operating under one garrison umbrella.”
Every quarter, the council as a whole will meet to discuss issues with base housing, allowing members to identify systemic or recurring problems. These meetings will be chaired by the installation commander or a chosen delegate, and they will also be attended by SMEs and leadership from relevant parties like the civil engineer squadron, fire department, security forces squadron and even the military housing office itself. Additionally, there will be monthly meetings for neighborhood representatives. SMEs and the council chair will not have any ability to vote on council resolutions or direct what topics are discussed. As part of their roles as RAs, Mailki and her Schriever SFB counterpart, Christopher Russel, can meet with resident representatives outside of these quarterly meetings to ensure all issues are addressed, with anonymity in mind if necessary. This offers privacy and alleviates the weight of rank in order to ensure service members and their families can feel confident in their decision to live on base.
Due to the contractual nature of the relationship between base leadership and private housing, the council’s resolutions will be advisory, not binding.
“This is not a punitive body, this is not a decision making body, this is just an advisory body,” said Mailki. “What I would like to see happen is if people bring things up, the advisors and the chair have the ability to make change happen outside of that council by virtue of who they are on the installation.”
Ultimately, the council offers residents of private base housing access to another direct line of communication to installation commanders and, if necessary, Air Force Civil Engineer Center. It creates a record of the issues that residents face, which is essential in addressing any future issues. As such, the council’s success or failure depends on the participation and candor of private housing residents on both bases.
To participate in the Garrison Resident Council, or to sign up for the council’s distribution list and stay up to date, go to https://forms.gle/qonkNBY11CcAEQQv6. Sign-ups are open through Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, and the first meeting is planned for Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. For more information on the Garrison Resident Council, contact Christopher Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Kyra Mailki at email@example.com.