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MHAFB housing status for inbound airmen

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Privatized family housing at Mountain Home Air Force Base is currently exceeding 98%, while occupancy in the base dormitories is exceeding 95%, numbers the base hasn’t reached in five years.

This issue is compounded with the lack of available rentals off base in the local area.

“We started looking at the numbers increasing in December of 2016 and that got my attention because normally that’s a very slow season,” said Tim Farmer, the chief of housing on the government side. “So I started crunching the numbers and realized that this is going to be a tight year.”

Big construction projects in the local area and the population numbers from the base starting to stabilize may be contributing factors to the housing shortage according to Farmer.

Airmen have the option of staying longer than the allotted 10 days in the Temporary Living Facilities by paying with their Basic Allowance for Housing, though there could be some out of pocket expenses.

Another option for airmen is to enter in to a temporary lease they can work out with the property manager. These leases can be reviewed by the base housing office prior to signing.

“We ask the military members if they want to let us take a look at the lease, they’re welcome to come in here and we can take a look at the lease,” said Gloria Valdez, housing referral specialist. “I also offer – if the military members wants – to go down town with them and inspect the units prior to moving in.”

Various solutions are being thought out with leadership across the Wing to see how to alleviate any financial burden this may cause airmen and their families.

“We’re having an auditor come and look at redrawing the line that determines how our (Basic Allowance for Housing) is calculated,” said Col. Jefferson O’Donnell, 366th Fighter Wing commander. “They’re going to look at our housing status, they’re going to look at housing up in Boise and they’re going to see if we can redraw that line and then recalculate it.”

O’Donnell recommends calling base housing the minute airmen receive their orders; one step to ensuring accommodations are set up for when they arrive. Airmen should also stay in contact with their sponsors here to make sure they receive any new information.

“We’re hoping this is short term,” said Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 366th FW command chief. “We’ve directed the base housing office to create a message and we’re sending it out to all the sponsors (to send to airmen) because it gives them an idea what they’re rolling in to and we want them to have the information.”

“Anywhere you move in the Air Force, not just in Mountain Home, the sooner you can get on the housing list, the better off you’ll be,” O’Donnell said.