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When a roof over your head is just not enough

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- As a member of the military, Air Force personnel can expect to receive the standard essentials to survival, a roof over their heads and food in their stomach, but for some, this isn't enough.

Under rare circumstances, people need more than the standard essentials, and that's where the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron can assist.

According to David Ketchum, 48th CES housing office representative, every family in base housing or on the economy receives a high level of service and individual consideration; recently one family experienced firsthand just how far the housing office is prepared to go to care for its customers.

The family who has asked not to be named included one member with serious long term medical issues. When the housing office was notified that the existing accommodation was no longer suitable for the family and a genuine need had been established, the move was facilitated.

"We know that during a tour of duty, there will be military members and their families that will face challenges and concerns," said Mr. Ketchum. "At the housing office we endeavor to make sure that a home is not one of them. Whether we can satisfy their needs in government housing or in the private sector, the housing team always steps up to the plate to find suitable housing."

Because the family was larger than the standard housing size, finding new accommodations was difficult, said Mr. Ketchum.

According to AFI 32-6001, consideration should be given to community housing as the primary source of housing for an applicant with more dependents that can be suitably housed.

"In many instances, if a military member wishes to reside in government housing, but has a bedroom requirement that exceeds a three or four bedroom unit, the member and family would be directed to seek housing in the private sector," said Mr. Ketchum. "When this situation arose, we were fortunate to be able to convert two units that kept the family in government housing."

After the new housing units were identified, maintenance crews worked around the clock to install passageways between the two units while ensuring the structural safety was not compromised, installed additional lights and radiators, and created more bedrooms.

The housing maintenance contractor performed numerous other maintenance items including checking sewer lines and boilers, said Mr. Ketchum. They did an outstanding job of preparing this unit for occupancy.

With the tireless dedication of everyone involved, the new housing unit was available in less than three weeks.

"This is not the first family that housing has pulled out all stops for," said Mr. Ketchum. We have literally thousands of families living both on and off base that we are responsible for helping every day. We take this responsibility seriously and our folks go that extra mile to ensure that our families are cared for."