ON THE FRONTLINES OF MILITARY HOUSING

July 25, 2019

In this interview for Military Housing News, Corvias Property Managing Director Tim Toohey shares how Corvias works with military residents to accommodate some of their unique needs:

More than 20 years after Congress passed the Military Housing Privatization Initiative—designed to improve the quality of existing on-base housing and address the shortage of units available to service members—tens of thousands of units across upwards of 150 bases were developed and renovated.

Corvias Property Management is one of a handful of major players in the military housing sector. The firm has either built or revitalized 16,400 units on bases across the U.S. Tim Toohey, the company’s managing director, spoke with Multi-Housing News about the challenges and opportunities inherent in private military housing operations.

What factors are drawing investors to the military housing sector in 2019?

Toohey: The primary reasons we’re seeing more investors enter this space are threefold. First, there is a significant unmet need for new homes in military housing. Second, there is a continuing need for renovations to the homes—roughly 55 percent of our portfolio consists of homes built prior to the 2000s. Finally, since we are dealing with a portfolio of older homes, many require energy-efficiency upgrades.

How unique are military housing management practices?

Toohey: At a conventional community, you may not know the day-to-day challenges your residents are facing. Our residents experience a variety of circumstances including deployments of up to a year, temporary duty assignments that take them away from home for months at a time and permanent changes of station that require them to move outside of the lease. What this can mean for military families is disruption and stress, not only for the military member, but also for the parents and children who are continually moving to new communities and new schools.

While it’s important that our organization has standard operating procedures to follow, it is important that we have team members who can identify and adapt to special circumstances that need special consideration. As an example, a popular practice of ours is called a Honey-Do service—if the service member is serving a deployment or away for work reasons, the spouse can call our team and ask for assistance with things such as hanging pictures, changing light bulbs or helping to move a couch. These little things really are not so little. If we’re able to help eliminate one challenge for our military families, that is a win. In a nutshell, our practices may not be wildly different, but our approach to solving problems typically is outside of the normal practices.

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