Strengthening relationships with off-post landlords, property managers and realtors by educating them about housing laws that protect service members is one of the many ways the staff of Fort Campbell’s Housing Services Office advocates for Soldiers and their Families.
In partnership with the Property Management Association of Clarksville, the Housing Services Office hosted an all-day Fair Housing Workshop March 3 at Cole Park Commons.
“We were able to take the opportunity [during the workshop] to provide education on the laws that protect Soldiers and their Families,” said Yolanda McDaniel, deputy chief of Fort Campbell’s Housing Division, Directorate of Public Works.
A panel of legal experts lead the seminar, providing information about new changes that could impact those who rent to Soldiers. The experts included Vanessa Bullock with West Tennessee Legal Services, Nathan Lybarger with Hall and Associates, Laurel King Davis with Kentucky Legal Aide, and Steve Bourne with Community Development Services, Hopkinsville.
“We want to make sure we do our job to the best of our ability and serve our community the way it deserves to be served,” said Lyza Schullo, property manager of Autumn Winds Apartments in Clarksville.
The workshop served as a refresher for landlords and rental agencies who work with Soldiers and their Families daily.
“We learned from a military standpoint, what we need to look for in lease agreements and the procedures for deployments and training,” Schullo said.
Some of the topics discussed included an overview of fair housing laws, reasonable accommodations and modifications for tenants, laws and regulations protecting service and assistance animals, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, formerly known as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act.
First Lieutenant Patricia Bredlau, legal assistance attorney at the Fort Campbell Staff Judge Advocate Office, updated workshop participants about the protections provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which provides legal protections for service members and can postpone or suspend financial or civil obligations while on active-duty and away from home.
“Our job is to provide a home and a community wherever you go,” Schullo said. “Our priority is to make sure they feel welcome and at home and comfortable to communicate with us about their needs.”
McDaniel said the workshop creates a network that establishes an open-line of communication where the Housing Services Office can ensure Soldiers and Families are supported and taken care of.
“When you educate together, you build a network where the property managers feel comfortable contacting the Housing Services Office if they run into questions or concerns regarding service members,” McDaniel said.
Seventy property managers attended the workshop that establishes a foundation for communication.
McDaniel has seen an increase in the positive relationship between property managers and service members, she said.
“By educating them, the property managers do a great job of following the regulations and laws which reduces the amount of complaints from service members,” McDaniel said.
“We’re always excited when we have a number of property managers show up to support and learn, and legal teams who want to provide no-cost training and education,” she said. “It’s a success.”