Housing privatization, here we come

Goodfellow Air Force Base Lake Nasworthy Housing sign March 12, 2007.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Malek)

Goodfellow Air Force Base Lake Nasworthy Housing sign March 12, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Malek)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Goodfellow Air Force Base currently has 298 housing units in inventory, which includes 200-leased units located at Lake Nasworthy and 98 units located on base. The lease expires for the 200 units Dec. 4. These units are not included in the housing privatization deal; they will be returned to the owner. The expiration of this lease leaves Goodfellow with only 96 Lanham Housing units built in 1941 and 2 senior officer quarters built in 2000.

The current Housing Requirements and Market Analysis (HRMA) for Goodfellow show the total Military Family Housing requirement is 241 units. With the base losing 200 units this year and renovations to 96 of the 98 units on base too costly, this puts the base in a 239 unit deficit.

How is Goodfellow going to obtain 239 new houses for our military families and do it quickly? The Military Housing privatization Initiative (MHPI) is the Air Force's ambitious and aggressive approach to improve housing for its military members and their families through a long-term partnership with private developers.

The goal is to provide safe, quality, well-maintained housing in one unified community where Airmen and their families will gladly choose to live. Housing Privatization is a way for the Air Force to provide its Airmen and their families better housing, faster. The MHPI allows the Air Force to partner with private developers, who build and maintain on-base housing units.

Privatization is more efficient and provides higher quality homes quicker than traditional military construction (MILCON). In addition, developers can provide additional amenities over and above Air Force housing requirements.

The selected developer will meet the Air Force requirement for military family housing through demolition renovation, and new construction throughout the Air Education and Training Command.

Goodfellow is one of six bases included in the AETC Group II Housing Privatization project that is currently scheduled to close the deal Sept. 30. This means the government will no longer be responsible for management or maintenance and repair of Military Family Housing (MFH). This responsibility will fall to the Approved Successful Offeror (ASO) for the duration of a 50-year contract.

Where will the ASO build these new houses? The base is currently working on a Gift of Land Proffer from the City of San Angelo to the United States Air Force that will provide approximately 100 acres of land to be developed adjacent to the base. The goal is to develop this land (Parcel G, located one mile northeast of the base off Paint Rock Road) to its fullest extent possible. The current plan is to only put 13 key and essential units on-base and the remaining 228 units on Parcel G. Doing this will preserve the on-base land for any future mission expansion.

What are the differences from standard base housing vs. privatized housing? One major difference is that in privatized housing the private developer owns, operates and maintains the units and not the government. Therefore, the lease agreement will be between military member tenants and the developer. The developer will work with the Air Force to set rental rates based on the Basic Allowance for Housing that is updated yearly and will be paid by allotment directly to the developer. Many MFH residents are worried about changes in the way utilities will be handled.

Tenants will receive a utility allowance based on 110 percent of the average amount for utility costs. An estimated average of costs for all units will be accomplished annually but the tenants will only be responsible for paying the actual consumption after meters have been installed.

The Air Force's goal is for the tenants to have no out-of-pocket utility expenses and for any savings realized through conservation to be kept by the tenants. However, if your bill is higher than the projected average, then you are responsible for those costs. The developer will pay for water/sewer utilities and trash collection and the tenant will pay for gas, electric, telephone and cable utilities.

How does living in privatized housing compare to living in community housing? Rent will be paid at the beginning of the month like community housing but a deposit that would typically be equal to the first and last month rent is not required. In privatized housing the private developer will provide renters insurance instead of the tenant and utility deposits will not be required. In privatized housing tenants will live in a gated or secured community without the extra or added cost as in community housing.

Privatized housing tenants will also have a community center and modern, up-to-date playgrounds and tot lots without any community association fees that would normally be required in similar communities. Living in privatized housing also retains the traditional on-base culture and support for families of deployed members, which is very important.

How will the housing referral process change once privatization begins? The referral process will still be managed by the Base Housing Office; therefore, no significant changes to the current process are expected.

Privatization provides modern, safe, affordable housing where Air Force families will choose to live, both now and in the future. We hope that the current and future military member tenants are excited about the MHPI and the positive impact that it will have at Goodfellow.

Additional information will be released as we march closer to transaction closing.