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News > Group working to resolve local issues raised during forum
Group working to resolve local issues raised during forum

Posted 7/21/2011   Updated 7/21/2011 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

7/21/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- In May, more than 40 people gathered at the Hanscom Conference Center to share their thoughts and opinions during the first Caring for People forum. The goal was to identify, develop and prioritize issues that affect their personal and professional lives and identify these to leadership.

Some of the issues raised during the forum needed to be forwarded to the major command or Air Force levels. The Integrated Delivery Systems team gathered information on concerns that could not be addressed at the local level and forwarded them to Air Force Materiel Command for consideration. Officials at the major command level reviewed these submissions and made recommendations on what issues needed to be elevated to the Air Force level.

Out of eight AFMC bases and up to 40 possible issues, seven were sent to the Air Force level.

"Two of the issues they chose were from Hanscom," said Lt. Col. Melissa Wells, outgoing Community Action Information Board executive officer. "This is a huge win for our base."

Those issues included concerns about funding of education for children of civilians or contractors attending Lincoln or Bedford schools, and teens and bullying.

However, many of the questions and concerns raised during the forum could be resolved locally. The Integrated Delivery Systems team is now looking at 17 local issues and working to find answers.

Two issues raised during the forum were related to base housing. IDS worked with the housing office to find answers.

"One working group thought the housing assignment process appeared to be driven by profit and not by rank or family size," said Dr. Sondra Albano, IDS chair. "The proposed solution was to go by written rules when assigning housing."

When working to find an answer to this concern, the team found that the privatized housing office is already required to follow the written rules, but application of those rules can vary based on the situation. For example, there are two housing options for residents.

"Base housing comprises both rank designated homes and market rent homes," said Kelley Casey, The Landings at Hanscom's community director. "In general, all active duty military members assigned to or supported by Hanscom that are eligible for BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) at the with-dependent rate have the option of choosing a rank designated home or a market rent home."

According to Ms. Casey, rank designated homes are homes based upon a member's rank and number of dependents. The military member pays their full base allowance for housing. Market rent homes, however, derive from a market study analysis and rental rates are set per home. They are not based upon rank and number of dependents.

The second issue concerning housing was about parking. The Housing working group felt like there was not enough street parking for visitors. Their proposed solution was for the privatized housing office to increase street parking for visitors.

"We realize extra parking is an issue and are working to alleviate the problem where we can," said Ms. Casey. "But there is limited space in the housing area to add extra parking."

To help correct the problem, an overflow parking lot was added on Kelly Lane last year and has helped reduce congestion in that neighborhood. Another parking area is being constructed on Northbridge Road.

"We encourage our residents to use their garages and the spaces in front of their garage for personal vehicles to allow on-street parking spots for visitors," said Ms. Casey.

Residents considering other on-base parking options should contact Police Services at 781-377-2635.

These are the first of several local issues to be addressed. As other concerns are resolved, information will be provided in the Hansconian and on the public website at www.hanscom.af.mil.

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