New housing resident advocate listens to Laughlin residents

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class David Phaff
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Team XL welcomes a new member to its ranks--a housing privatization resident advocate--to ensure families living on base have the lines of communication they need to be heard and cared for. 

With a decade of experience as the housing program manager at the base’s Military Housing Office, Javier Cardenas stepped up to the position to continue assisting military families with their living needs; he’s no stranger to the job and what it requires of him. 

“I was handling complaints--but at the first level--and with this new position I'll be on another level directly working for the wing,” Cardenas said.”If I see something not working, it's up to me to report it to leadership.”

Cardenas holds the support and confidence of base leadership behind him during this transition-- knowing he is the most qualified person for the job.

“Mr. Cardenas brings a ton of experience, both with our local community and with military housing,” said Col. Carey Jones, 47th Flying Training vice wing commander. “As a recognized expert in the field, the Air Force Civil Engineering Center asked him to instruct compliance testing the last four years.”

Leadership’s full support allows Cardenas to act as a powerful advocate on behalf of military members and their families, ensuring they live in a safe, healthy, and secure environment here on base.  

“Housing members can feel free to come and speak with me in reference to complaints without fear,” Cardenas said . “My job is to empower the residents, so they can ensure there’s somebody on their side looking out for them.”

By providing residents a voice, Cardenas helps bridge the divide between residents and privatized housing which, in the past, has been strained not having a personal resource.

“Communication is important to make sure that issues are being fixed,” said housing resident 1st Lt. Hunter Phan. “Sometimes we put in a request, and they say they’ll come while we are at work but there is no way of knowing. Sometimes we put in a request and it's fixed fast. It needs to be more of a constant.” 

Cardenas’ primary goal is to ensure the residents are heard and are taking the correct steps in resolving any issue that may arise. 

“I’m going to be out and about knocking on doors,” Cardenas said. “I need everyone to know exactly what I do, and that I’m there for them.”

Before hitting the streets, one of Cardenas’ first projects was the establishment of  a resident’s council, which meets to discuss concerns and inquiries related to Hunt, the Military Housing Office, and the resident advocate. The meetings take place on a quarterly basis, with the first one scheduled for Sept. 24, 2020, at 2 p.m. at Anderson Hall. All residents are welcome to sit in on the meeting. 

“The goal of the council is to allow for any military privatized housing resident or family member’s representative to freely, and without restraint, discuss privatized housing problems, issues, concerns, or recommended solutions to wing leadership and support agencies,” Jones said. “We owe it to the residents to ensure deliberate, swift, and satisfactory resolutions.”

Hunt has a tenant representative meeting every quarter to receive feedback and hear what the current residents need or want to change in housing. 

With this new position and improvement in communication, Cardenas and base leadership are confident that residents will have their voices heard, while building a community everyone here on base can call home.