Housing privatization, another step forward Published Nov. 2, 2006 By George Carter Housing Privatization Project Manager ALTUS AFB, Okla. -- Privatized military family housing is coming to Altus AFB. Several issues have arisen over the past six months that have delayed the real estate transaction closing, but we are now moving again to the closing date. Representatives from Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, HQ Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence, and the privatization support contractor, have worked diligently over the past few months which has allowed the Housing Privatization Initiative to restart the march forward. Another step in the process is congressional notification of intent to award. The AETC Group I package is currently under review in preparation for congressional notification. We anticipate this being completed in early September, after which Congress has 30 days to react. If no congressional comment or inquiry comes out of their review, as we anticipate, then the package will be considered approved and we can then proceed to transaction closing. After the congressional notification period expires, we will announce who the developer will be, a series of "town hall" meetings will be scheduled to inform housing occupants of what they can expect to happen and how business will be conducted, and all occupants will have to sign a lease with the developer before transaction closing. The Patriot will be publishing a weekly series of Frequently Asked Questions to help answer common questions of concern of housing occupants. A major leap forward will occur late in September with the demolition of the vacated Bicentennial Housing area. The Air Force will demolish the houses so the proposed developer can build in that location. Frequently asked questions 1. Is it true the military is getting out of the housing business? Not exactly. Commanders across the Air Force are still responsible to ensure their assigned personnel have access to adequate housing, either on-base or off-base. Privatization is a tool to get new/improved homes for our members faster than through traditional Military Construction methods. Privatization projects still require the involvement of installation leaders in the Management Review Committee (MRC) to review customer satisfaction and Project Owner performance; to approve the Project Owner's annual operations and maintenance budget; and to approve the expenditure of funds from the reinvestment account for quality of life improvements. 2. How do we know the Project Owner will not take the money and run? The Request for Proposal, the document defining the conditions of the deal, requires that all income be deposited in a federally insured bank and that a lockbox agent be appointed to administer the funds. The government has the right to examine the owner's books at any time. Funds are distributed for operating expenses, taxes and insurance, principle and interest on the senior and government direct loans, management fees, major maintenance, performance incentive, percentage of revenue paid to the Project Owner as profit, and the remainder goes into the reinvestment account for quality of life improvements and future new construction. 3. Is it true the military will guarantee occupancy in Privatized Housing (PH) and require members to live there? No. The Air Force will not guarantee occupancy of PH units. Freedom of housing choice by eligible military members, with the exception of Key & Essential Personnel, will be preserved. All eligible military members assigned to the local area are required to process through the housing office upon arrival and prior to signing a lease for PH. The Project Owner will only accept referrals coordinated by the housing flight. 4. Will in-processing/out-processing be the same for a privatized house vs a government-owned house? Basically, yes. For instance, when military members are still at their departing PCS location, they will still be able to access their future base's website and check out their housing. They will still be able to forward an advance housing application. When they show up at the base, they will still receive an introduction packet and checklist. The introduction process will still have the military member process through the "housing office." There will be very little difference in the in-processing procedure. The military member will still have to clear their checklist by visiting the customer service desk of the various personnel support organizations on base. The biggest difference, in the case of privatized housing, will be the paperwork the member signs. Instead of signing for a government-owned house occupants will sign a pre-occupancy inspection form and hand receipt for keys, etc. The member will sign a lease with the Project Owner and set up an allotment to the Project Owner to cover "rent." The member will start receiving BAH and the rent will be equal to the members BAH. More detailed information will be addressed in later issues. George Carter, the Housing Privatization Project manager, is available to address concerns of housing occupants. We want the transition to privatized housing to be as smooth and seamless as possible and will do everything we can to ensure occupants are well informed and prepared for this change. You may contact Mr. Carter at 481-6379 or e-mail at email@example.com.