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News > Commentary - Action Line: Housing rumors
Action Line: Housing rumors

Posted 12/30/2011   Updated 12/30/2011 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Col. John T. Quintas
48th Fighter Wing commander


12/30/2011 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England  -- 
COMPLAINT:

It is going around that soon all E1-E4s with children will be REQUIRED to move into Lords Walk as soon as they arrive (no billeting, just straight into their house), and if they choose to live off base, they will not receive OHA. They may implement the same policy for E5s and E6s as well, and possibly people without kids. I just wanted to know if this is true or a rumor.

RESPONSE:

What you have described is basically true.

These are challenging times and I am constantly assessing existing policies to determine which are still prudent and which need to be changed to meet current conditions. One area that I have identified for potential Air Force savings is our Military Family Housing (MFH) occupancy rate.

The Air Force achieves maximum return on its MFH investment by keeping the occupancy rate high. My goal is to keep it above 98%. To meet this goal, I have authorized a mandatory housing assignment policy. Upon arrival, members that fall into a category where the occupancy rate is below the goal will be directed to move from lodging/temporary housing directly into MFH. This
assignment policy will apply to new arrivals to RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall, and RAF Feltwell.

Members will be assigned to the first available MFH unit. This will be the most contentious aspect of the policy, as I am well aware that there are varying levels of desirability for our different housing areas. But it is the fairest means of assigning the housing that our Air Force has invested in. Members will have the option to refuse a directed MFH assignment, but only after they agree to forgo their Overseas Housing Allowances. They will then be paying for their off-base residence completely out of pocket.

While I understand that this will take away some flexibility in choosing off-base housing for new arrivals, we all have a responsibility, in this fiscally tight environment, to do our part to reduce the cost to the United States of our military forces serving overseas. There are many great benefits to living in MFH and there are also plenty of opportunities to get out and experience the local culture. I welcome your questions and your feedback as we implement this policy.

Please feel free to contact Ms. Lani Waikiki, Capital Asset Manager, at 226-3183 or e-mail me directly through the Action Line.

                                                                                                      *******************************************

The Action Line is your direct link to the commander for complaints, suggestions or comments. It's not intended to replace the chain of command. When normal command agency channels haven't been able to resolve your concerns, call 226-2324, e-mail Action.Line@lakenheath.af.mil , send through distribution (48 FW/PA), mail (48FW/PA, Unit 5210 Box 215 APO AE 09461-0215) or hand carry your Action Line to the public affairs office (Building 1063).

You may remain anonymous; however, to receive a reply, please leave your name, unit, duty or home phone number and full APO mailing address. Names are confidential.





tabComments
5/30/2012 3:01:08 PM ET
Is this policy in effect until the houses are fully occupied and then people have the option to move off base? Or is it going to be mandatory policy forever?
A, State side
 
2/21/2012 9:58:11 AM ET
I am moving my family on base for their benefit while I'm delployed which is a lot. I am disappointed that I will not receive any assistance in moving nor any MIHA as others have received for doing the same.
J, RAFM
 
2/1/2012 5:10:22 PM ET
Study your enlisted history. Show an Airman Lord's Walk housing 20 years ago and they would have sworn they'd been promoted to SNCO Show them to those that fought and served here in WWII and they'd swear they moved into a mansionWhen I was in the Jr Enlisted Amn tier I had to wait until I made SrA--28 Mos TIG--to even earn the right to have my own dorm room...let alone live off base. So for the first two and half years of my military career I had zero privacy. When I moved off base I could afford a rather small four-plex apartment.What other institution rewards their employees with such benefits Essentially it's our screwed up sense of entitlement that makes us sound like a bunch of spoiled brats rather than professionals that humbly serve our country. What I keep in mind are those citizens back home that are struggling to make ends meet. How dare we complain about such small things that are essentially aesthetic. We are privileged to serve and receive such commoditie
MetalChief, United Kingdom
 
1/26/2012 3:14:22 PM ET
I have lived in Lords Walk for 3 years and have had no issues with any crime obviously if you leave your items in plain they will get stolen this is a given as for bad houses they are not. Maintenance came whenever I needed and my family and I have had no issues. It makes no sense for the governement to pay so much for the contract and no one live in them make the best of it and the more people that live in that area the more military friendly it will become. I love it
Dali, RAF Mildenhall
 
1/22/2012 10:45:15 PM ET
Theres a reason this place is called Lakenhell
Same stuf different day, Hell
 
1/18/2012 2:45:40 PM ET
Contrary to rumors the policy applies to everyone no matter their rank. The initial policy letter did state E-1 - E-6 only however it has been confirmed that anyone will be immediately offered housing upon arrival as long as their are units available within their rank area. I know Lords Walk is not the best housing in the Air Force but it is a blessing to have. When I was an airman I lived in much worse housing and was grateful to have it. With rank comes some privileges like some better houses but we all need to tighten our belts and accept that sacrifices need to be made for our nations good. Last time I looked that is what Service Before Self meant.
MSgt Reality Check, RAF Lakenheath
 
1/18/2012 7:31:17 AM ET
I have lived in my Lords Walk home for over 3 years now. It's not the greatest home in the world but it's free. I don't have to worry about any utility bills or making sure my rent is paid. I am actually saving money because of the fact I don't have to worry about the exchange rate and what it's going to do next. If you do move into Lords Walk area of housing I would suggest investing in a storage shed outback for your lawn mower and anything you want to store in there. The storage areas are very limited in size.
KH, RAFL Lords Walk
 
1/12/2012 6:16:50 AM ET
If they are trying to cut costs then why put a freeze on the list of people waiting to get onto base? There are people who are on the list willing to move into these houses but are told they are only going to incoming people. Now that does not sound to me as they are really wanting to try and save money. They would move people on base that are on the waiting list too. Especially if they are really wanting to move on base.
Affected person, UK
 
1/11/2012 8:25:18 PM ET
Members will have the option to refuse a directed MFH assignment but only after they agree to forgo their Overseas Housing Allowances. They will then be paying for their off-base residence completely out of pocket. Nothing like good old fashioned coercion to inspire the troops. s
Joe, Formerly RAFM
 
1/11/2012 5:40:23 PM ET
Why not the SNCO's or officers? It is not just about how much a MSgt and TSgt get paid. It is numbers too. There are more E1-E-6 than there are SNCO's. Adding E7 to this will only make about 400ish more eligibles.
ARR, Watton
 
1/11/2012 5:21:14 PM ET
is there any exceptions will special circumstances be considered
d, RAFL
 
1/11/2012 5:15:02 PM ET
I just got here Friday and was told that I a Sgt will have to move in base housing. the only problem is i have pets that are banned from living in base housing. It cost me 3500 to get them here. what do I do now? I've had my dogs for 4 years and cant just get rid of them.
jazz, RAFL
 
1/11/2012 1:13:41 PM ET
I would have loved an immediate housing assignment when we moved there. It is one less thing to worry about during a PCS and it is very close to all of the facilities and work centers. Much better than the month in TLF and the 45 min. drive to the bases on VERY dangerous roads.
E Bartley, Maryland
 
1/11/2012 3:40:03 AM ET
I live in Lord's Walk and have not had any problems with crime vandalism or any of the other excuses that I have heard of for not living there. As for housing maintenance they have always answered and fixed the problems I have had expediently. In the end we are all responsible for ensuring that we the Air Force are fiscally responsible and this includes living in the houses that are paid for by our government.
Jackie Highlander, RAF Lakenheath
 
1/10/2012 3:20:45 PM ET
How come they won't bump it up to E-7? The OHA of an E-7 and E-6 are the same with dependents.
DD, RAFM
 
1/5/2012 7:12:36 PM ET
I am an NCO who is affected by this policy. But I realize that the commander's decision is one that is based off of historical precedence. To those who question this citing it's unfair I suggest you look at the bigger picture. If you don't like it make rank. If that option doesn't appeal to you then commission. Either way please do not disrespect the enlisted corps with your gripes. All things are best when earned not given because of one person's complaint. Your healthcare is paid. You get a paycheck. You have a job I would argue that it's the best and most honorable profession when too many Americans are out of work without any prospect.You also have the opportunity to live overseas that most Airmen would give their eye teeth for. I agree safety is a problem in Lords Walk but getting Airmen in there will only serve to bring a sense of community who will clean up the area and the military will not allow its people to live in a location that is grossly unfit or unsafe to the fam
Affected NCO, CONUS
 
1/4/2012 10:08:56 AM ET
I don't mind living in Lord's Walk but when you have issues in your house the housing office or maintenance will go out of there way to come up with excuses why not to fix it. The houses in Lord's Walk are free, liveable and my opinion you should not look a gift horse in the mouth. But at least fix what is broken or worn out.The kids in Lord's Walk need a play ground to play on just like the kids on the bases. Just because we are E1-E6 does not mean we don't want our kids to have the experience of somewhere to play besides base.
Crystal James, RAFM
 
1/3/2012 9:25:15 PM ET
Just another way to put Lower ranking airmen in their place. If you want to save money why just E1-E6 why not everyone? Surely they have the same responsibility and would LOVE to volunteer.Let's see how fast an Officer to a Sr. NCO would take Lord's Walk. Not a chance... And I wouldn't blame them. Why haven't these awful units been demolished for newer housing or given back to the Brits for their Sec-8 program yet? Why would you guys push buildings with high crime and mold problems on us? Just my 2 cents..
JJ, RAFL
 
1/3/2012 5:19:32 AM ET
I live in Lords Walk. The houses are what you make of them. Though some of them are pretty run down. I'm happy where we live but I would hope they would make some changes before they start making people move into the area. Such as cleaning up the houses doing so much needed repairs addressing the mold issue that some of the houses have and having security forces start doing patrols. Just to name a few.
Meg, RAFL
 
1/1/2012 5:01:31 AM ET
Lords Walk housing may not be the most desirable housing in the world but not every job provides it's employees with housing. This surely has cost savings for school transportation when more families are centralised on base.Sad though that it will now be impossible for lots of famillies to live on the ecomony and experience day to day life.
Sally Ann, Brandon
 
12/30/2011 2:53:32 PM ET
If we all have a responsibility to do our part to cut costs why are only the lowest ranking and least paid the only ones paying the price here.
AM, RAFM
 
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