FORT HOOD, Texas: Officials from Fort Hood and LendLease, Inc., celebrated breaking ground on their new $420 million housing project Thursday.
The breaking ground generated excitement from military officials.
“Today is awesome for Fort Hood,” Lieutenant General Pat White said.
There is still disappointment and concern, however, from displaced families who couldn’t live safely in their own homes on post.
“Building more houses, it’s a good thing, but not if it’s not done right,” military spouse Courtney Hamilton said.
The project aims to build 600 new homes and renovate another 3,600.
Even local lawmakers saw the need for new housing on post.
“When you see some of the past housing we’ve had around our military bases, it’d bring a tear to your eye,” Congressman Roger Williams said. “We’re asking everybody to give it all and we can’t give them all. This is going to tell the community, this is going to tell the world, it’s going to tell all of America that our young men and women are the most precious we have and we’re going to take care of them.”
Army officials say only about 50 families out of 87,000 people living on post are currently without post housing.
Those displaced families, who were not invited to today’s ceremony, aren’t sold on the project.
“I’ve got questions about the houses they’re going to build and I don’t think that makes me a bad person to ask them,” Hamilton said. “We’re appreciative of the funding, but we don’t trust them.”
Hamilton and other military spouses have been displaced for as long as 18 months.
Families are skeptical as to where the $420 million will actually be going, something the Army is telling them not to worry about.
“We’re not throwing money at the problem,” Lieutenant General Douglas Gabram said. “We have our sleeves rolled up and we’re doing the hard work day in and day out with our partners, and just like the flag we wear on our right shoulder, we’re always moving forwards, not backwards.”
The project is part of a larger, $1.1 billion plan LendLease has with five military installations.