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Patrick hosts housing privatization meeting

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- More than 200 people, many of whom reside in base housing, attended a Town Hall meeting Oct. 16 at the Base Theater to discuss the details of the pending sale of the existing privatized housing projects at Patrick Air Force Base. That sale, scheduled to occur Nov. 4, consolidates into a single deal the housing privatization projects at Patrick, Hanscom, Little Rock and Moody Air Force Bases, and allows construction to restart at all locations.

Once the sale is completed Hunt Development Group, of El Paso, Texas, and Pinnacle Development, based out of Seattle, Wash., will provide development, remodeling, operations and maintenance and property management services for those homes that are currently privatized and homes in North and Central Housing Areas on Patrick Air Force Base.

Over its 60 year history, Hunt has built more military family housing in the U.S. than any other company. Pinnacle manages more than 25,000 military homes at twenty different military installations nationwide, including the first BEQ privatization project for the Department of the Navy in San Diego.

The major discussion topics at the three-hour Town Hall Meeting were the timeline for converting the existing housing, the process for how residents will receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and the procedures followed if Air Force family occupancy levels decline to such an extent that non-Air Force tenants would be allowed to rent houses on the installation. Officials with the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, the organization responsible for the execution of the Air Force Housing Privatization Program were at the meeting.

In accordance with the laws that enable the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, all service members who choose to live in privatized military housing receive their BAH which is then paid to the privatized housing provider as their rent, according to Col. Charles Beck, commander, 45th Mission Support Group.

Under the current plan, base residents have until Nov. 4, the projected date of the sale, to decide whether they want to remain in base housing and sign a lease with Hunt-Pinnacle, or if they would prefer to move out. If residents choose not to reside in privatized housing, they will have thirty days to move out.

At the meeting residents also brought up questions regarding force protection and security in the event civilians should live in housing.

"The Air Force still believes that privatized housing is the way to go, not only for the 45th Space Wing, but for the entire service as well," Colonel Beck said. "Patrick Air Force Base is by no means the first base to deal with these issues and residents can be assured that their families will be taken care of," he added.

"There are many questions still to be answered. Your attendance at the next town hall is encouraged and your concerns need to be heard - and answered," said Colonel Beck. "Our No. 1 priority will always be our Airmen and their families. We'll get through this, and we'll do it the right way and we'll do it together. We need all of you to be informed, and it's our job to get you that information," he said.

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