NEWS | Aug. 26, 2010

Base housing inventory on the rise

By Mike Joseph 502nd Air Base Wing OL-A Public Affairs

A combination of privatized base housing, ongoing new home construction and an increased housing allowance for military members is creating an environment of affordability and availability for living on base.

Approximately 100 new three and four-bedroom homes have been added to the housing inventory on Lackland and the Lackland Training Annex since Balfour Beatty Communities held its groundbreaking in late May 2009.

The availability of those new, larger homes has helped create a surplus in the existing two-bedroom home market at Lackland for military members.

"We have about 20 two-bedroom homes available," said Claudia Moreno, Balfour Beatty Communities LifeWorks/Resident specialist. "Normally we would only have about five available at one given time."

Ms. Moreno added that new homes for senior NCOs, featuring 1,500 to 1,800-square foot floor plans, are also readily available, and about five new homes are being added to the inventory each month.

She said service members should consider the total cost of living off base versus living on base, not just whether the housing allowance covers the rent.

"You may be getting $1,275 (in housing allowance) and rent a home off base for that amount," Ms. Moreno said. "That's true, however when you factor in how much you're spending on gas, electricity, water and trash collection, it adds up. The (housing allowance) may be equivalent to the rent, but you're actually paying more."

Amenities included in the base housing package are paid utilities, trash collection, yard maintenance, and free renter's property and liability insurance in addition to community events and activities. Children of military members living on base are also eligible to attend Lackland Independent School District schools and compete for college scholarships given annually by the Balfour Beatty Foundation.

According to Ms. Moreno, military members could realize a cost savings by sharing a two or three-bedroom home in base housing. Two military members splitting the cost of a two-bedroom as roommates could potentially save up to $400 a month.

"There's a big misconception that both military members would give up their (housing allowance) and that's not true at all," Ms. Moreno said. "We only charge (the housing allowance) of the higher member's rank, not both.

"And one payment to base housing takes care of everything, they don't have to worry," she added. "We try to make this as easy and simple as possible so all they have to do is enjoy."

For more information about base housing on Lackland, call 674-9366 or visit www.
lacklandafbfamilyhousing.com.

The Balfour Beatty office is located at 2285 Blake Road on the Lackland Training Annex.