The Fort Hood Housing Office is working hard to take care of servicemembers and their families. Housing has been proactive in locating apartments and homes for servicemembers.

This office calls owners and managers daily to keep an active list of housing available.

After the servicemember decides which housing best suits his or her needs, he or she may receive a waiver for security deposits from programs worked out with the landlords, utility companies, telephone companies and the cable companies.

Some landlords have agreed to these programs in return for the Army's assistance, within the laws and regulations, in recouping any losses incurred if the servicemember damages property or refuses to pay their just debts.

In addition to assisting servicemembers before move in, the housing office also provides services throughout the entire rental period. After moving in, should there be a dispute between the landlord and the tenant, a program to settle these disputes

through an alternative dispute resolution, arbitration, is available.

Some leases have a clause stipulating that disputes will be brought to arbitration. This can save both the servicemember and the landlord court costs and possible attorney fees. Arbitration is an informal process in which two parties present their views of a despite to a neutral third party, an arbitrator, who will decide how the

dispute will be resolved.

Robert Sullivan, of the Staff Judge Advocate Office, is the arbitrator for Fort Hood.

The housing office is working hard to take care of our most precious commodity, the servicemembers and their families.