Housing renovations, Garrison events, new services discussed at Town Hall

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FORT IRWIN, Calif.  Garrison leaders led a combined Housing Town Hall and Community Service Council on Nov. 17 to provide updates on renovations, special events, Weed Army Community Hospital, schools and Child and Youth Services.

Garrison Commander, Col. Jeanette Martin opened the event, which was streamed live on Facebook.com/FtIrwin.

Community Director the for Villages at Fort Irwin, Adrena Sheriff, kicked off the Housing Town Hall by reminding residents of the 15 communities and Mayors, which can be accessed at Facebook.com/irwinacs.

“Each village has a volunteer mayor and designated Facebook group, which is meant to facilitate communication between key entities and residents,” Sheriff said.

She also reiterated an answer to a common question of how Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is distributed, including utilities, community improvements and programs, emergency services and administrative services.

The 15 Tenant Bill of Rights, as well as the Resident Responsibilities are addressed at each Housing Town Hall.

“We’re there to help you understand both what your rights and responsibilities are,” Jessaka Menzie, Client Services Chief said. “When you speak with us, your communication is confidential. We work for our client and are looking out for our client’s best interest.”

Leaders stressed the need for residents to complete their Army Housing Surveys, so housing can gain feedback on how housing partners can improve, saying managers develop plans and budgets based off of survey results.

The Villages will host a Festival of Lights holiday house decorating contest and ask that you follow their Facebook page for updates.

2020 Improvements Include all exterior renovations in Calico Estates:

• New backyard privacy fences

• Fresh paint and trim

• New garage doors with remote openers

• Exterior LED lighting

• High-visibility address plates

• Installed 1036 new sets of blinds (200 more to complete)

• 93 Unit Modernizations – legacy doors and ceiling fans

• Upgraded 68 kitchens (mostly in Bitter Springs)

Once the Housing Town Hall transitioned to the Community Service Council meeting, the MWR reminded home-based businesses of the updated requirements of insurance and a safety inspection added.

In a COVID-19 environment, the MWR’s capability to host events has been reduced, but acting MWR director, Wilbert Artis, announced the Dec. 3 Newcomer Spouses Orientation, as well as a scaled down Holiday Market and Tree Lighting on Dec. 5. The MWR will be helping hand out complimentary Christmas trees to residents as apart of the national Trees for Troops event on that day.

April Camerena with Child and Youth Services said CYS is currently providing services to mission-essential personnel only, due to the HPCon status, and is at full capacity. She said changes to the Mission Essential Verification process have been implemented.

They are also considering possibilities for virtual sports once the HPCON decreases.

“Our youth sports office is exploring the option of planning and getting ready for virtual sports, as well as camps and clinics, so we can encourage and we can engage with our community and children to keep them as active as possible,” Camarena said.

Matt Livingston, chief of the Community Recreation Division, talked about a tool free and available to active-duty soldiers. Warrior Adventure Quest (WAQ) is an Army RESET training tool designed to introduce soldiers to activities that serve as alternatives to aberrant behaviors often associated with accidents involving recently re-deployed soldiers. This tool presents coping outlets to help soldiers realize their own new level of normal after deployment and “move on” with their lives.

WAQ combines existing MWR Outdoor Recreation high adventure activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, paintball, scuba, ropes courses, skiing, zip lines and white water rafting, with a leader-led after action debriefing (L-LAAD) tool developed by Army Medical Department (AMEDD) center and school.

Kimberly Hackbarth, Public Affairs Officer for Weed Army Community Hospital reminded everyone of the Patient and Family Partnership Council meetings, holiday hours and Tricare’s open season from Nov. 9 – Dec. 14.

School Liaison Officer, Pamela Murray, informed the community about parent-teacher conferences, high school finals and holiday break dates.

The meeting wrapped up with Menzie letting the community know about new Army legal services being offered to assist military families who are in need of advice on education and school-related issues they encounter through the special education process.

The next Community Service Council meeting is Dec. 15 at 10a.m. at the Sandy Basin Community Center and will be streamed live on Facebook.com/FtIrwin.

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