Jarl Bliss, President, Lincoln Military Housing
Reuters today published a story about military housing that contains numerous inaccuracies and omitted important facts, resulting in an inaccurate picture of the housing and services that we and other private partners work with the U.S. military to provide.
For example, Reuters writes that families with concerns over their housing have little recourse but that’s just not true. When families have concerns or problems, there is a clear process for escalating complaints to our company and other private partners, housing officers in the military, and ultimately the base command. It is also false for Reuters to state that, “The system creates an inherent collision of interests pitting service members against the military-industry partnership.” Our goal and responsibility -- and that of the military -- is to ensure military families have safe, secure and quality housing and we both take that responsibility very seriously.
Of course, the ultimate recourse is that military families have many choices and options of where they want to live. LMH must compete for their business by offering high-quality homes, modern communities with amenities like fitness centers, pools, and parks, and an array of other support services designed specifically for military families – and excellent service. We believe our historical occupancy rate that exceeds more than 95% speaks to the satisfaction of our military families. LMH homes are required to meet state, local and federal health and safety codes, and they do.
Reuters omitted from the story that:
- Overall, mold-related service calls made up less than 1% of the service requests we received in 2017. Of those work orders, most were resolved to everyone’s satisfaction in only one visit.
- We treat any resident report of water intrusion, mold or mildew as an emergency request, with a goal of ensuring that our trained technicians respond within 30 minutes, regardless of the time of day.
- We address any rodent issue in a timely fashion and follow up to make sure the problem is solved.
- And numerous other facts, including those related to other aspects of the few examples they used in their story – including ignoring information and data we provided to them over the course of the last year.
Also lost in the story is that data provided to Reuters demonstrate that Lincoln Military Housing is not only committed to maintaining safe, quality homes for our military families, but our resident satisfaction is extremely high. In satisfaction surveys conducted by a third party company, residents at all housing installations collectively rated Lincoln as either “outstanding” or “very good” over the past five years. Residents rated our maintenance resolution service as “outstanding.”
The fact is that LMH has every incentive to provide residents with great service and quick maintenance responses. Contrary to what the story would lead a reader to believe, we do not profit by skimping on service. To the contrary, we are most successful when we have satisfied residents who recommend LMH housing to other military families. In fact, when Reuters reports the gross revenue generated by privatized military housing, they omit the fact that, per the contracts established by the government, virtually every dollar goes back into maintenance, amenities and developing new quality housing to meet growing needs or replace older housing. We and the other private partners receive a small fraction of the revenue as profit, and only if satisfaction scores and occupancy are high.
Despite the fact that the examples Reuters cites represents only a very small fraction of our residents, we are not pleased if even one resident has a bad experience in our homes; we remain committed to making things right. And while LMH homes are high quality, they are not fortresses and are affected by Mother Nature just like any other home or building. In high humidity areas, after a heavy rainy season or when a hurricane or snow storm hits, there will inevitably be maintenance and repair needs. We address problems promptly and follow up to make sure residents are satisfied.
We have a rigorous preventative maintenance program to proactively identify maintenance needs, and residents play an active role in bringing any issues to our attention. Residents have several avenues for recourse, including a process for escalating their concerns with LMH and the Government Housing Office until they are resolved. We encourage them to take advantage of this process as their satisfaction is our goal. If you are a resident with an unresolved concern, you can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (888)578-4141.
Lincoln Military Housing has great respect for our military families, and we consider it an honor to serve them.