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Assistant Secretary visit pushes optimism for MacDill housing future

Hon. John Henderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations and Energy, meets with 6th Air Refueling Wing leadership at a house on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2020.

Hon. John Henderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations and Energy, meets with 6th Air Refueling Wing leadership at a house on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2020. Henderson met with base leadership and housing representatives to analyze progress being made to improve privatized housing management and see first-hand the efforts made to resolve issues for residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan C. Grossklag)

6th Air Refueling Wing and 6th Mission Support Group leadership travel with Hon. John Henderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations and Energy, to base housing on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2020.

6th Air Refueling Wing and 6th Mission Support Group leadership travel with Hon. John Henderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations and Energy, to base housing on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2020. As part of efforts to improve quality of life for on-base housing residents, Henderson met with base leadership and housing representatives to analyze progress and see first-hand the efforts made to resolve issues. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan C. Grossklag)

Hon. John Henderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations and Energy, and U.S. Air Force Col. Edward Phillips, the 6th Mission Support Group commander, enter a house on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2020.

Hon. John Henderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations and Energy, and U.S. Air Force Col. Edward Phillips, the 6th Mission Support Group commander, enter a house on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2020. Henderson met with base leadership and housing representatives to analyze progress made to improvement privatized housing management and see first-hand the efforts made to resolve issues for residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan C. Grossklag)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Arnold Bunch, Air Force Materiel Command commander, exits the Davis Conference Center on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June10, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Arnold Bunch, Air Force Materiel Command commander, exits the Davis Conference Center on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June10, 2020. Bunch visited from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as part of ongoing efforts to improve quality of life for residents of on-base housing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan C. Grossklag)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

In an ongoing effort to analyze and evaluate progress towards remedying issues in base housing on MacDill Air Force Base, the 6th Air Refueling Wing hosted Hon. John Henderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations and Energy, as well as U.S. Air Force Gen. Arnold Bunch, Air Force Materiel Command commander.

Henderson and Bunch attended meetings at the Davis Conference Center with 6th ARW and 6th Mission Support Group leadership, representatives of the military housing office and Harbor Bay respectfully. The visit concluded with final meetings between Henderson and housing residents before Henderson toured houses to view progress in-person.

“By hosting senior leaders such as Secretary. Henderson and Gen. Bunch, we take advantage of the opportunities to share improvements in housing progress as well as share the voice of the MacDill community,” said Col. Ben Robins, the 6th ARW commander.

MacDill housing leadership, to include Donald Deming, the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron housing manager, and William Farnard, the 6th ARW resident advocate, provided details on everything that is being done in an effort to resolve resident concerns.

“We’re making progress here but after meeting with residents, it’s clear we still have a lot of work to do,” said Henderson. “We’re on a good track to fix some of the bigger issues in regards to maintenance management and infrastructure.”

Henderson stressed the importance of the Tenant Bill of Rights and how residents should be using their rights to ensure quality of life is maintained.

“Secretary Henderson is very focused on ensuring all base housing residents are aware of the avenues to seek help if they have any issues in their homes,” said Robins. “In addition to our Resident Voice Council, we have continued to add personnel to our government Military Housing Office, and just last month, hired the installation’s first ever Resident Advocate.

With all the information gathered during meetings at the Davis Conference Center, Henderson narrowed his focus down to just a few key topics.

“At the end of the day, we’re focused on a few basic things: providing safe homes, assuring competent and responsive maintenance support, and communicating with our residents in an open, transparent, and respectful way so that any disputes can be resolved quickly,” explained Henderson.

 Though the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress towards resolving issues with housing on MacDill, combined efforts and attention from base leadership and senior Air Force leaders, such as Henderson and Bunch, along with the voices of housing residents will make sure that living on MacDill is safe and healthy.