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HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A bulldozer tears down old construction in order to make way for the new at Hanscom. As a result of privatized housing, military members, DoD civilians, contractors, retirees and their families now have options when deciding to move on base. (Courtesy photo)
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Privatized housing offers options

Posted 11/18/2010   Updated 11/18/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


11/18/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Base housing construction, to include new housing as well as remodeling, is more than halfway finished and officials at Hunt Pinnacle say they are on track to have everything complete by August 2011.

"With the project in its last phase, there are now many options available for people who want to move on base," said Kelley Casey, The Landings at Hanscom's community director.

It is important to note, according to Ms. Casey, that base housing is not just for Airmen with dependents. Military of all branches, with or without dependents, DoD civilians, base contractors and military retirees can also move here.

The transition from government-run to privatized housing at Hanscom began seven years ago, but the first steps toward housing privatization began in the mid-1990s with the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI).

Congress recognized that nearly half of the houses on Air Force installations were in dire need of renovations and repairs, and military funding could not cover the cost of renovating them or building new ones. Instead of budgeting billions of dollars for new houses and renovations, Congress incorporated MHPI into the 1996 National Defense Authorization Act. The initiative allows the Air Force to privatize the housing on all domestic Air Force installations.

As a result of privatization, a variety of choices and benefits have opened up for Airmen and their families.

"Hanscom is unique because we have options to offer," said Ms. Casey. "We have brand new homes which are spacious, state of the art homes leasing at the BAH [basic allowance for housing] rate. We also have some renovated homes with new appliances, kitchen cabinetry and floor coverings that rent at rates that reflect the local apartment market pricing."

Property management works closely with construction and has over 80 percent of the homes filled.

Since construction is nearing completion, most of the major inconveniences of living near a construction site have been minimized.

"One of the first questions we get from people interested in moving on base is, 'Will I have to move?'" Ms. Casey said. "We are happy that we have reached the stage of construction where we can finally answer no. Since the project began, about 250 families have moved so we could remodel those homes, but now the last of the 'forced moves' have been assigned."

Besides finishing up remodeling and new housing, Hunt Pinnacle will be installing new playgrounds, tot lots and many other amenities.

"Living on base offers so many advantages," Ms. Casey said. "You have the safety of living in a gated community. You're close to schools, the BX and commissary and you have no commute to work."

The Landings at Hanscom also holds many family activities in order to help neighbors get to know one another and build a sense of community.

"Across the Air Force, most bases have moved to privatized housing," said Ms. Casey. "This is nothing new, but we understand making the change is still not easy to go through. We're looking forward to next summer when construction is completed."
According to Ms. Casey, The Landings at Hanscom will continue to provide quality housing to Airmen, DoD civilians, retirees and their families.

"Privatized housing has been a great option for the military," said Col. Stacy L. Yike, 66th Air Base Group commander. "Privatization shifts the renovation, construction, operations and maintenance responsibilities of family housing to the private sector, which has the expertise to manage these housing assets. This allows Airmen to focus more on the mission with the knowledge that their family is enjoying quality housing in an excellent community. I encourage all of our Team Hanscom members to consider The Landings as a possible housing option."

For further information about Hunt Pinnacle, call the leasing office at 781-861-5062.



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