Dyess offers specialized housing through privatization

  • Published
  • By Janie Santos
  • Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
Housing program officials here point to the privatized housing units managed off base as a success story, as the Air Force plans for 22 more bases to go "private" by the end of next year.

"We started demolishing 1950s-era homes almost 10 years ago," said Dolores Green, housing program manager with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. 

She said that traditional military construction was not able to offer a fast turnaround of quality homes, and that as inadequate units were leveled, Dyess Airmen and their families needed a place to live that was affordable.

As a result, the housing privatization initiative for Dyess was completed in 2001 with 402 units of apartments and townhomes in an area near the base called Quail Hollow.

Mrs. Green said the program is different at Dyess because the complex is one of the few projects in the Air Force that has apartments and townhomes, most bases have single family homes.

"The good thing about Quail Hollow is that they don't require any deposit, and a family can move in same day if a unit is available," she said."The company doesn't require any money outlay as the rent is paid in arrears."

"The Airmen (that live there) seem happy," she said. "The area has a couple of clubhouses with weight rooms; they have two pools, lots of green space and play areas for children."

In fact, the residents rated the project topnotch as Quail Hollow earned the National Multifamily Customer Service Award last year for achieving the highest level of quality and service. It's an award determined by the residents.

Airmen pay rent to the private company, based on rank and basic housing allowance which covers the entire cost. They also have a utility allowance which is one of the benefits of the privatization program. There is a sliding scale or "waterfall" to determine who can live in the complex. As the occupancy rate falls, then more categories of people are allowed to rent.

The base is now expecting to add more than 600 units in another project that has yet to be finalized.

For the Air Force, housing privatization results in the construction of more housing built to market standards for less money than through the military construction process. Commercial construction is not only faster and less costly than military construction, but private-sector funds significantly stretch the Air Force's limited housing funds. For example, for every $1 of Air Force funds spent, the program provides $15 in private financing.

A complete listing of bases that are selecting developers is at the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment's Web site.

"The program at Dyess has been running for almost 10 years now," Mrs. Green said. "We work well with the privatization partner, we are lucky and very fortunate."