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NEWS | March 29, 2006

Langley privatization partners with Bolling, Barksdale

By Bill Johnson Housing Privatization Management Office

Langley, Bolling and Barksdale Air Force bases have partnered their housing privatization initiatives in an effort to renovate or build new housing on the three bases.

The partnership, dubbed BLB for the names of the bases, became necessary after the Office of the Secretary of Defense mandated that Langley and Barksdale include their historic housing in the privatization process. In order to subsidize the new requirements, Langley and Barksdale had to team with an installation that included high BAH rates -- enter Bolling.

The grouping improves the financing viability of all three bases. Instead of accepting bids on the 1,430 housing units that will be built and renovated here, private contractors will bid on work for 3,146 units at all three installations and only one solicitor will be chosen for the project. The grouping will provide Langley with homes renovated or built to current private-sector housing standards.

Though the BLB grouping pushed back construction start dates at Langley, work on the project is expected to begin the first quarter of 2007.

Housing privatization is a positive for Airmen and their families. Privatized homes offer more space, new features and bonus amenities. Homes here will include at least one-car garages, yards, playgrounds, walking paths and sports and recreational areas. Rent will be based on BAH rates and maintenance service will be available 24/7 all 365 days of the year.

The Air Force housing privatization process not only provides new or renovated housing units with better features to Airmen, it also saves the Air Force funds, which can then be directed to other programs, and saves the Air Force time, delivering homes sooner than through traditional military contracting. At Langley, an experienced team of housing professionals is working to ensure the homes constructed here are some of the best in the DoD.

The Langley Housing Office will send out updates periodically to keep residents informed of the privatization process here. As news becomes available, the housing office will pass the information along to you. In addition to placing news items and announcements in The Flyer and on the Commander’s Access Channel, the housing office will host Town Meetings where residents can interact with base leaders to ask questions and make comments.

The housing team strives to make the transition as quick as possible while minimizing inconvenience to Airmen who live and work on base.

For details about the overall housing privatization process, visit the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence Web site at:

Thank you for your continued patience and interest in the housing privatization process here at Langley. The housing office looks forward to continuing to serve your needs now and during the transition period to privatization.

1. What is Housing Privatization?
The Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) is a public/private program whereby private sector developers may own, operate, maintain, improve and assume responsibility for military family housing, where doing so is economically advantageous and national security is not adversely affected. The MHPI was enacted on February 10, 1996, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1996. Under the MHPI authorities, the Department of Defense (DoD) can work with the private sector to revitalize military family housing by employing a variety of financial tools including direct loans, loan guarantees, equity investments and conveyance or leasing of property or facilities.

2. How will the transition from military to private sector work?
It’s a three-step process. At each installation, the Air Force will do a preliminary feasibility assessment to determine the requirements and screen potential candidates for privatization. During the next phase, draft real estate documents and requests for proposal are developed. During the final phase, the Air Force will issue Requests For Proposal, evaluate the proposals and plan and execute the transfer of ownership and management to the private sector.

3. What difference will housing residents see?
The overall Air Force goal is for this process to be as transparent as possible to the residents of military family housing. Residents should experience faster service, better living conditions and a single point of contact for all housing maintenance issues. One contractor will be responsible for maintaining, constructing and renovating all housing on Langley AFB.

4. How will families be impacted by the housing renovations and construction?
The Project Owner provides a construction and renovation plan as part of the proposal the Project Owner submits to the Air Force. These plans are approved by the Air Force and are generally implemented by the Project Owner as written. While circumstances may vary at each installation, demolition and renovation will usually begin on vacant units first, in order to reduce the impact on families in occupied units. Since the renovation and construction for most projects is expected to be major in scope, it is likely that some families will have to move during renovation and/or construction. Typically, the Project Owner’s construction/renovation plans will include a phasing plan which describes how, where, and when residents will be moved from one section of housing to another. If an initial move to accommodate construction is necessary, the Government will pay for that move. The Project Owner will generally pay for any additional moves that may be required. The Government’s goal during the construction/renovation phase is that military families will not be required to move more than one time.

5. Do I have to live in privatized housing?
The only time privatized housing is mandatory is if the Military Member is Providing the Military Family with Quality, Safe, Affordable Housing Langley AFB Housing Privatization Office considered “key or mission essential,” which requires the Member to live on base. Otherwise, Military Members may choose to live in privatized housing or other available off base housing.

6. What if I don’t like the options provided to me when I am offered privatized housing?
If Military Members do not like what is being provided then they may choose to live off base in other available housing (except for “key or mission essential” personnel).

7. Will non-military families be allowed to live in privatized family housing?
Generally, the Project Owner may only offer housing to non-military families if the housing occupancy rate drops below 95 percent for more than three consecutive months. If that occurs, the Project Owner may offer vacant housing units to individuals on the priority placement list in order to raise the occupancy rate back to the 95 percent threshold. The initial tenant lease term for these residents will normally be limited to one year. The Project Owner will generally charge such residents “Market Rent” (which is based on local market rent averages) but the rent for these residents will not be lower or more favorable than the rent paid by Military Members.

8. How will unit assignments be determined?
Typically, privatization projects require that privatized units be designated for specific rank (such as Junior NCO, Senior NCO, company grade officer, field grade officer, senior officer, and general officer) and family size. The Project Owner offers units to Members based on the rank/grade of the Member authorized to reside in the unit type designation.

9. Will my children be required to change school districts if we are forced to move due to construction?
The answer depends on the local school district policy. Most school districts will allow a student to finish out the current school year, and some may allow the student to attend school outside the district where they reside. This requires approval from the school district, and a tuition fee (per semester) may be required. We are working with the York and Hampton school districts to minimize the impact on our military communities.