HILL AIR FORCE BASE — With ever-shrinking budgets, housing privatization programs ensure that on-base housing is modern, maintained and available to Airmen.
Hill Air Force Base currently has 1,084 privatized housing units. Of these, 536 are new homes, built since the privatization agreement in 2005. The majority of the other homes have been completely or partially remodeled.
The base boasts a 96 percent occupancy rate in housing, which helps ensure the project’s viability.
“Our occupancy rate exceeds the Air Force standard and means the project manager (Boyer Hill) is able to put more money into the reinvestment fund for our community,” said Lareen Parkinson, 75th Civil Engineer Group Housing Management Flight chief. “Overall, the project here has been a great success.”
The reinvestment fund is used to construct new homes and renovate existing homes, something that would be next to impossible for the Air Force to do on its own in the current fiscal environment. More home construction is planned at Hill in the coming years.
More money also means more amenities and activities for base residents, including an interactive park, splash pads, playgrounds, community walkways connecting to trails, picnics, festivals and community events, all paid for by the privatized housing project.
No program is perfect, and individual complaints do arise, but they are not widespread, or dissimilar to what she sees from off-base landlords, said Parkinson, who is in charge of mediating issues between housing project managers and Airmen.
Since on-base housing prices are based on Airmen’s housing allowances, they often fit within budgets, and the benefits and entitlements protected by the Air Force for base residents often outweigh complaints.
“If you move into an apartment or home off-base, you may have to pay first and last month’s rent or a large security deposit. If you have pets, you may have a higher pet deposit and probably a monthly pet fee. It can be thousands of dollars upfront,” Parkinson said. “Our Airmen don’t have to come out of pocket for that here. The only deposit required is a pet deposit.”
Parkinson said privatization has also enabled the Air Force to open up housing to total force Airmen: active duty, Guard, Reserve, civil service, retirees and DOD contractors, allowing them to enjoy the security, proximity and community of living on-base.