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Housing team named best in the Air Force

Posted 1/9/2013   Updated 1/9/2013 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

1/9/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Hanscom's housing team, consisting of members of the Civil Engineering Housing Management Office and Hanscom Family Housing, was recently recognized as the Air Force winner of the Professional Housing Management Association Outstanding Installation-Privatized Location team award for 2012.

Throughout the year, both the government and privatized housing employees worked together to accomplish many goals. As a result of their efforts, the occupancy rate rose to 98 percent, they received a 97 percent annual site visit score and an overall "A+" customer rating, among many other accolades.

The Housing Management Office went through a transition from contractor to insourced employees. A solid transition plan ensured there was a positive impact on residents and referrals.

The team obtained newcomers lists and made early contact via welcome packages. HMO collaborated with the legal office, security forces and base leadership to help codify base access process for non-credentialed Department of Defense spouses. As a result, the process was reduced from weeks to days.

"I've spent the last 28 years serving in the military myself and then following my husband wherever the Air Force sent us," said Debra Westervelt, assistant asset manager. "The most stressful part of any move always seemed to be moving in and out of housing. I try to use the experiences we've had to make the military members move to Hanscom a great experience."

Housing team members also completed agreements with Fort Devens, Natick Soldier Systems Center and Coast Guard-Boston and informed area commanders on housing opportunities available on base.

"The HMO and privatized housing offices come together once a week to set priorities and address issues," said Tom Schluckebier, base civil engineer. "These meetings have led to a consensus on numerous items, such as use of extra funds, traffic issue resolution and community enhancements."

The team continued to work with a joint community consisting of a 53 percent Air Force, 18 percent Army, eight percent Coast Guard, seven percent Marine Corps, four percent Navy and 10 percent Department of Defense civilian and retiree population.

"They took on the task and flawlessly adapted to serve a diverse, multi-service market with multiple BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) rates and varying demographics," said Schluckebier. "They seamlessly incorporated service-specific referral and rent payment procedures into standard business practices."

At the same time, Hanscom Family Housing members gave back to the community. They were key players in the base's Caring for People forum, providing advice on issues for not only local housing issues, but overall Air Force issues. They participated in fundraising efforts for Disabled American Veterans, the Jimmy Fund and Teen Heals. Additionally, they were supporters of Heroes Homecoming.

"Hanscom Family Housing is honored and humbled to receive this award," said Kelley Casey, community director. "We are privileged to come to work every day where we get to serve those who serve us. We continue to remind ourselves of the sacrifices that are made by our military members and their families on a daily basis. We are committed to making Hanscom Family Housing a wonderful community for our military families to live."

For further information on housing availability at Hanscom and the surrounding area, visit www.housing.af.mil/hanscom/. For further information about Hanscom Family Housing, visit www.hanscomfamilyhousing.com.

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