New 97 AMW resident advocate targets housing questions, concerns

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell
  • Altus Air Force Base Public Affairs

Arriving at an installation and acquiring housing can be a challenge for any member of the military, and the hassles usually don’t end with getting the keys. To aid in housing challenges Airmen face, Air Force leaders created a new service-wide position called the privatized housing resident advocate.

According to Brian Bush, 97th Air Mobility Wing privatized housing resident advocate, the job of an installation resident advocate is to have a proactive approach to ensure military members' and their families’ concerns with privatized housing are addressed and elevated to the appropriate levels within the chain of command.

“The resident advocate is the ear for the wing commander, but is among the people,” said Lt. Col. Peter McClellan, 97th Air Mobility Wing director of staff. “Family and home life are vital to keeping the mission going so he is a great tool to have for the wing.”

Bush has served as a volunteer for multiple community organizations throughout his 10 years of living in Altus.  When the position became open, Bush felt that he needed to get involved.

“I am thankful to serve Altus Air Force Base service members and I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure they get the appreciation they deserve,” said Bush. “I'm excited to do the job, proud to be an official part of the team, and ready to give back.”

Additional capabilities of the resident advocate include knowing resident rights for members on base and assisting members off base with their tenant rights. According to Bush, dealing with concerns in the home can be one of the most stressful times for the whole family.

“When there are issues at home, they don’t stay there,” added Bush. “Not having a stable life at home can affect the quality of the mission. I am there to make sure that the member is able to keep a clear head and know there is someone on their side for their home needs.”

One aspect Bush said he likes about the position is that he is not only an advocate but an ally to members in need. The resident advocate focuses on maximizing mission readiness by driving a culture that ensures military members and their families live in safe, healthy, and secure privatized housing residences.

“Events like coming into or out of a house or even unexpected housing issues are a difficult situation,” he said. “I can act as a check and balance process to serve the families needing help in that stressful time. Advising residents on a lease or tenant laws is part of my job allowing me better assist families.”

Bush joined mobility’s hometown one month ago and has already begun reaching out to families on the installation like Capt. Mike Sare, 56th Air Refueling Squadron Pilot.

“This is a worthwhile position and will be beneficial,” said Sare. “To have someone there to be the liaison and to explain and to break it down for us residents will be helpful.”

One facet of Bush’s position is to build and lead the new on-base resident council. The council will include enlisted, civilian, officer and spouse members from different on-base neighborhoods.

“Some specific instructions mandate how to plan and coordinate things through the council. But in the end, it is my goal to use this to bring together housing members,” said Bush. “To have the ability to openly exchange information is invaluable. There are always people that want to share their concerns, and this council can make sure people get the correct information and eliminate problems. It would be nice to extend this ability to our off-base members, but getting the council started here on base is a great start for the new position.”

Residents who have questions or need assistance with housing can contact Bush at 580-481-7550.