The Housing Equation (1311 - 828 - 200 = 283)

  • Published
  • By Col. Jeffrey Taliaferro
  • 28th Bomb Wing Commander
"When the Centennial lease expires, our Airmen will be able to live in the same house, likely for less money--just off base. These homes will be like any other home in Box Elder." --28 BW/CC

Team Ellsworth only has 283 military family housing units that the government owns. These are the relatively new houses in Prairie View and Rushmore Heights. The other 1028 homes we've been using for nearly 20 years were leased from private owners. This includes the 828 homes in Centennial, and 200 homes in Dakota Ridge.

At the end of September 2010, the lease on the 200 homes in Dakota Ridge (now Fox Meadow) expired as those homes reverted back to full private control. We've been working closely with the owners (Rapid City Defense Housing Corporation) and our Airmen over the last year to smooth this transition. While no transition is without stress, by providing information early and the ability to choose we were able to dramatically reduce the turbulence for our Airmen. The same strategies that worked in the Dakota Ridge turnover will be effective in the next lease expiration--Centennial.

The long term lease on the 828 homes in Centennial is set to expire at the end of July 2011. These homes won't turn to dust and blow away, in fact, the owners (Hunt Corporation) are hopeful our Airmen will continue to live there. However, the fence will be moved and these homes will become like any other house in Box Elder.

Airmen who want to stay in Centennial will need to sign a lease agreement with Hunt. They'll receive BAH, pay rent to their landlord, and receive all other services either from the city or their landlord (Hunt) just like any other rental property downtown. Hunt has indicated that to be competitive with the local rental market they intend to charge between 5- 15% below BAH, with utilities included. We hope to have this data and lease language available in November 2010 for our Airmen to review.

Airmen who would rather move will get a paid government move to whatever house they arrange elsewhere. Orders will be cut and the government will arrange for your move just like a PCS. We've limited this provision to six months prior to lease expiration (01 Feb 11) to ensure we don't move folks near to a PCSs, unpredictable life changes, etc. Likewise, 6 months out Airmen can get on the waiting list for military family housing. However, the reality is the low number of remaining homes (283) makes it highly unlikely that these homes will be available.

There are many details and reasonable questions that the wing will work hard to answer for our Airmen over the next few months. Similar to the Dakota Ridge transition, on 3 and 4 November at the base theater the wing will begin hosting a new series of town hall meetings to answer questions on this transition (specific dates still in work). We're hopeful folks living in Centennial will be able to attend. However, as always, the housing office is still available at any time. I'm also available on Facebook, the Commander's Action Line, etc. to answer any of your questions on this subject. Thanks for your patience as we work through this transition.