GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Leadership for the 17th Training Wing hosted a Town Hall meeting addressing housing issues for the Goodfellow community May 22.
Leadership fielded many questions and addressed concerns regarding the following topics:
- Your rights as a privatized housing tenant
- Housing maintenance request form tutorial
- Waitlist policies and procedures
- The results from the recent 100% privatized housing inspection
- Housing turnover policies and procedures
For those unable to make the meeting, the main points and most frequent concerns were consolidated and can be viewed below.
How is housing prioritized?
Off base housing (local community) is the first and primary source for rental housing and base housing is intended to offset shortages in the local community. Any service members (regardless if student/non-student) who are on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders and authorized “with-dependent” BAH are authorized base housing. There are three priority groups for housing. The first is Key & Essential with 15 positions (6 of which have designated homes). Key & Essential members hold leadership positions which must respond quickly to incidents on base; they are designated by the Wing Commander. The second group is target tenants - members who are on PCS orders authorized “with-dependent” BAH. The third group is other eligible tenants - individuals who only are eligible for base housing when occupancy falls below 98 percent. Housing units are divided into categories based on rank and number of bedrooms. Members are prioritized for housing against other members in the same rank and bedroom category. Members may be offered a house outside of their authorized category if there are not any houses available in their authorized category and if there is not anyone on the waiting list for any higher or lower category homes needing to be occupied; though Hunt and the Air Force prefer to only lease to categories one up or one down from member’s authorized category. The neighborhoods contain mixed ranks of members due to housing sizes built to accommodate the varying number of bedrooms which is common throughout Air Force Bases. Efforts are made, when feasible, to create separate communities.
How does BAH work and what is it based on?
BAH surveys are conducted annually in the summer with new BAH rates released December timeframe. The process includes housing office personnel inspecting (in-person) all dwellings submitted for BAH consideration to ensure they meet Department of Defense (DoD) required adequacy standards. BAH rates are based on median rental rates and average utility costs in the local community for varying types of homes. There are 27 distinct BAH pay grades based on rank and with/without dependent status. BAH is currently meant to cover 95% of housing expenses with the other 5% coming out-of-pocket. Each member has a choice on whether to rent or buy homes on the local economy, what size home they prefer, location they prefer based on circumstances (i.e. kids/schools/safety/ etc.), and what price they are willing to pay. In some instances buying a home can be cheaper than renting based on the member’s preferred choices. Realtors do not have a role in how BAH rates are established. BAH rates for the area increased an average of 3.4% in 2019.
BAH rates are calculated using the total housing costs (median rent + average utilities) in each military housing area for all “anchor points” (see attachment 1, Military Compensation Policy) and housing standards for the twenty-seven pay grades that correspond to military ranks for members with and without dependents. Once the duty station is known, the BAH is fixed, regardless of where the member chooses to live. The BAH rate is determined by the duty station so that members may live near their duty location, but they remain free to live where they choose. Actual member choices, remember, do not influence the calculation of rates. The opportunity for service members to choose their off‐base housing is important to DoD. Each member has the freedom to decide how to allocate his or her income (including housing allowance) without a penalty for deciding to conserve some dollars on rent to pay other expenses.
How does the waitlist work?
1. When members finds out that they have an assignment to Goodfellow, they should contact the Housing Management Office (HMO) and fill out their mandatory forms, then go online to Hunt Housing to fill out the application for housing.
2. A representative from Hunt will email and/or call members letting them know they received the application and where they currently are on the waitlist based on their housing need date (this is the date the member places on their Hunt application for arrival) and authorized category for rank/bedrooms. There are 11 waitlists based on rank and number of bedrooms required.
3. Members are prioritized within their rank/bedroom category waitlist first by housing need date. This is by far the most common factor to determine someone’s position on their waitlist. If the need dates are the same, then Hunt and the Housing office will prioritize members in the same category by grade, then date of rank, then length of service, then date of birth. Use of these factors is extremely rare at Goodfellow.
4. The member’s position on the waitlist can change at any time based on other inbound personnel being added, deleted or updated unless they are offered a house and sign a lease prior to arriving.
5. Upon arrival to the base and signing in, member should report to HMO to confirm paperwork completion and finish any requirements. They can also verify their position on the waitlist posted on the wall in the HMO waiting area or ask a housing professional. The member should then go to Hunt housing and check in with them to confirm paperwork completion and finish any requirements.
6. The members placement on the waitlist will change to the date arrived on station (DAS) which is sometimes before the housing need date and usually before the report no later than date (RNLTD).
Members can call the HMO or Hunt or walk in to the HMO to view the waitlist. At one time, Hunt posted the waitlist online but their corporate office, with Air Force approval, removed the feature from their website. We are investigating the possibility of returning the feature.
Amn Snuffy has a RNLTD of 30 Aug, his application to Hunt states his housing need date is 23 Aug, and is
#2 on waitlist, Amn Joe gets notified of an assignment with a RNLTD of 15 Aug, submits an application to Hunt with a housing need date of 12 Aug, contacts housing and becomes #2 on waitlist pushing Amn Snuffy to #3.
Amn Snuffy has a housing need date of 30 Aug 19 and is #1 on waitlist, Amn Joe gets notified of an assignment with a RNLTD of 30 Aug 19 and is coming from a remote unaccompanied tour. Amn Joe moves to #1 on the waitlist due to the remote tour; the date used for requested housing is the RNLTD of his remote tour orders (30 Aug 18) thus pushing Amn Snuffy to #2.
Amn Snuffy has a RNLTD of 30 Aug, his application to Hunt states his housing need date is 23 Aug, and is
#1 on the waitlist, Amn Joe is #2 on the waitlist also has a RNLTD of 30 Aug and a housing need date of 23 Aug. Amn Joe arrives on 15 Aug (DAS) and signs into base and housing. The waitlist is updated to reflect Amn Joe’s DAS as 15 Aug making him #1 on the waitlist and Amn Snuffy #2 (since he has not yet arrived).
What is DoD housing policy and why do other bases impact our housing?
Housing policies, including BAH and privatization, are dictated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and Headquarters Air Force (HAF). Additionally, privatized housing is governed by 32 legal agreements between HAF and the privatization companies (e.g. Hunt, Balfour Beatty) and often include more than one base within each legal agreement. Of note, each service headquarters (Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and Army) weighed in the legal agreement specific to their bases and personnel. AETC II, the legal agreement between Hunt and the Air Force includes Goodfellow AFB and five other installations, some of which have historic homes that are on the National Register of Historic Places and are subject to distinctive laws and rules for maintenance and upkeep. The legal agreement details each base’s housing upkeep and renovation requirements and is closely monitored by the Air Force and a third party auditor. The number of housing units on base is based on rank and dependent status in order to offset shortages within the local community. At Goodfellow, the number and types of homes were deemed appropriate by the DoD, the Air Force, and Hunt Inc. during inception of the project.
What is the appropriate BAH rate for other eligible tenants/acceptance of home outside of authorized category?
The AETC II agreement between OSD, HAF and Hunt housing states that if “other eligible tenants” such as single military members or government employees apply for housing when occupancy falls below 98 percent, the rental rates will reflect “with-dependent” BAH rates. The AETC II agreement also states that service members offered a house in a lower category than they are authorized can make the choice to accept that housing at their full BAH rate. If they accept a house in a higher category, the member’s rental rate will remain their full BAH rate and they will not be charged extra money. The choice to accept is optional in both cases.
What can HMO do for me?
HMOs across the Air Force have been liaisons with the privatization companies. However, HMOs are now taking a more active role in oversight, quality checks, processes, and customer service to ensure fair and equitable treatment of our service members. The Air Force is working to implement a resident advocate at each installation next year. HMO verifies all occupant charges at time of move out and walks through each house with partial or total carpet replacement to verify work accomplished. Residents can request receipts to verify all work is accomplished as well. HMO also provides off-base relocations and referral services. HMO updates and monitors Homes.mil and AHRN.com along with inspecting those homes to ensure they’re safe and in compliance with Air Force standards.
There may be more houses showing available on other websites such as Zillow and members have a choice to look at those houses as well; however, HMO cannot guarantee their safety/compliance or that the landlord/owner are legitimate.
Allotments for Marines: the USMC pay system is different than the other branches. Marines can pay with an allotment but it needs to be set up with their finance office rather than through Hunt.
Housing Expansion Landings/Concho Pearl: Due to their age, Concho Pearl is identified for demolition in the future subject to funding availability. There is not a projected date for demolition at this time and the homes continue to be safe and well maintained.
Fees: $25 fee for the trash bin and $25 fee recycle bin if not cleaned out - most of the time this is as simple as running a hose through each. Pets-policies differ per installation. At Goodfellow residents have not been charged an additional fee in the event of a pet death and then acquire another pet.
Utilities: The utility allowance program is a DoD energy savings program codified in law. Goodfellow has 10 groupings which are used to calculate average monthly utilities. This ensures the allowance is averaged with like- type housing (minus unoccupied homes, top 10% and bottom 10% consumers). The average in each specific grouping is the baseline for each house within that grouping to determine a credit or bill.
Fences: Goodfellow Housing was designed to be built without fences. Funding for this would come out of the same reinvestment account funding needed to demolition Concho Pearl and build new housing. Members can install their own with pre-approval from Hunt.
Replacement options: Blinds and light bulbs should be replaced before new residents accept a home. Windows and screens are repaired or replaced as needed. Concho Pearl housing is much older and current day screens do not measure to those specific window types. Options are being investigated to replace the screens. Stoves and refrigerators are repaired or replaced as needed.
Wear/Tear: Hunt makes the determination on normal/fair wear and tear. HMO can help if resident does not agree with assessment as they review all charges to tenants. You can do small self-help repairs, however, they must have Hunt approval.
Carpet: Carpet is not changed solely for aesthetic reasons. They are generally replaced at the end of the expected life, which is 7 years. If still in good condition some may be maintained for a longer lifecycle. Carpet that is damaged, stained, contains pet odors may require replacement regardless of age of carpet. Residents may use carpet cleaners (professional/personal) of their choice as long as at the final move-out inspection it is clean and odor free.
Tours of housing prior to accepting: Walkthroughs are allowed as long as there is a vacant home available for viewing prior to accepting home. Members are offered the chance to take an initial walkthrough just prior to signing the lease of the home.
For any questions, please contact the Housing Management Office at 654-3498.