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The Mountaineer Online



Housing privatization eases stress of moving


Whether Soldiers are arriving at Fort Drum or preparing for their next permanent-change-of-station move, Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes can help ease the stress of moving.

FDMCH will provide a simple and convenient process for finding a home in the North Country. By visiting the new Welcome Home Center, Soldiers will soon find a one-stop shop for finding homes on and off post, with rental and real estate information.

As a stress-reducing measure for departing Soldiers, FDMCH will approache move-outs with a resident friendly “Broom Swept” standard.

Moving in
Today, Soldiers go to the Housing Office in Clark Hall to get on the waiting list for government housing. The wait for a government home can take some time.

“All of that changes with the new partnership between the Army and Actus Lend Lease, scheduled to begin managing and maintaining the property on May 1,” said Joe McLaughlin, FDMCH asset manager. “The Welcome Home Center provides a full range of services that assist newly arriving families in understanding the move-in process and in selecting a home that fits their needs.”

Upon a Soldier’s arrival at Fort Drum, a resident service coordinator will provide one-on-one counseling on the various housing options and assist the Soldier in completing the application. The RSC will provide floor plans that detail room sizes and the layout of homes. FDMCH equips Soldiers who choose a home on post with renter’s insurance, which covers $100,000 in liability and $20,000 on contents.

After this initial counseling, if a home is available, it will be offered to the Soldier. If one is not available, the Soldier will be added to the Fort Drum Housing Wait List. Decentralized property management is a cornerstone of FDMCH, so this visit is the last time that the family will use Clark Hall for housing issues.
When offered a home, the family will go to the community management office located in the neighborhood. The family will meet with the community manager and receive a tour of the prospective home. If the home available is off post, the family will be directed to the Army Community Housing Office for further assistance.

After touring the home, the family will have the option of accepting or rejecting it. If the family rejects it, they will maintain their spot on the waiting list until another home meeting their needs becomes available. The family will only lose their spot on the waiting list if after touring two homes, they decline both. A family has up to 24 hours to accept or reject a home.

FDMCH has a three-tiered priority list for housing Soldiers and their families:
* Priority Class A – Key and essential Soldiers who are required by the command to live on the installation.
* Priority Class B – Soldiers who are new arrivals at Fort Drum, Soldiers who live off-post in private housing, Soldiers who reenlist for present duty assignments, Soldiers who are newly married and Soldiers who experience changes in rank or family size.
* Priority Class C – Soldiers who already live in ACH government housing off the installation (Army’s leased housing).

When a Soldier selects a home on post, he or she will sign a resident occupancy agreement, or lease, which becomes month to month during their stay at Fort Drum. The ROA has been thoroughly reviewed and approved by Department of the Army lawyers and the local Staff Judge Advocate’s Office. The ROA triggers an allotment (rent) to FDMCH that is equal to the Soldier’s basic allowance for housing.

“The BAH listed on the leave and earnings statement is automatically redirected as an allotment to FDMCH,” said James Corriveau, RCI program director. “There’s no need to write a check for rent.”

The Welcome Home Center will be located in Clark Hall, room A2-54. Beginning May 1, the telephone number will be 955-6644.

Moving out
FDMCH makes move-outs as stress-free as possible. Returning homes to exact move-in conditions can be arduous. Spackling small holes, painting all walls white and hiring professional cleaners will no longer be required. The “Broom Swept” standard implies residents leave the home clean throughout including the kitchen, bathroom(s) and garage.

When residents regularly clean a home, it should only require a wipedown and sweep / vacuum at move-out. Normal wear and tear is expected. Leave the home “Broom Swept” clean, and FDMCH will take care of the rest.

Residents should give notice to their community center at least 30 days before move-out. The FDMCH staff will work with the resident to schedule a move-out date, a pre-move-out assessment (if desired) and the final assessment.

The pre-move-out assessment is optional and available for the convenience of the departing family. FDMCH will identify those items not considered “normal wear and tear” and items that require cleaning to assist the resident in avoiding charges. During the final assessment, the staff at the community center will clear the Soldier if the home is clean and no payment is due.

If the home is not clean, the FDMCH staff will:
* provide a list of damage costs (if applicable);
* determine the need for additional estimates for repairs and replacements (if applicable); and
* collect anything remaining due.

“The Broom Swept standard eases the pressure on families during move-out and allows them more freedom to live comfortably,” said Brian Becchio, FDMCH director of property management. “For example, we’ve established a palette of acceptable colors for painting. This allows families the opportunity to leave the walls painted. We’ve taken great care to make this process as simple and stress-free as possible.”

For more information contact Kirstin Rich, Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes director of community services, at 955-6800 or through e-mail at kirstin.rich@fdmch.com. For more information on the project, log onto www.fortdrummch.com.

(From FDMCH)






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