Army Family Housing Program
What is it?
The Army Family Housing (AFH) program builds, maintains, and operates a worldwide inventory of quality housing at installations where suitable quarters are not available on the local economy. The AFH construction appropriation provides for new and replacement construction of homes as well as the revitalization of existing facilities. It also provides the government contribution to housing privatization projects under the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI). The AFH operations account is an annual appropriation providing for day-to-day operations, municipal services, furnishings, maintenance and repair, and the utility costs of government-owned quarters. It also provides for the cost of leased housing and management of the RCI program.
Consistent with the Army’s policy of “Community First,” the majority of Soldiers with Families reside in private-sector housing off-post. The Army conducts Housing Market Surveys to determine the amount of on- and off-post quarters available to meet requirements. The Army’s goal is to ensure that no matter where Soldiers and their Families are stationed, affordable housing that meets Department of the Army adequacy standards with respect to location, size, amenities, and condition is available to meet their needs.
This comprehensive program has a FY08 budget of $1.162 billion, with $419 million designated for construction and $743 million for operation and maintenance of the Army’s worldwide inventory of 30,907 owned and 12,486 leased units.
What has the Army done?
By the end of FY08, the Army will have provided funds to bring 97 percent of the enduring inventory of owned housing worldwide to adequate status and will have transitioned family housing to privatized operations at 38 installations involving over 80,000 homes. The Army will fund the elimination of all inadequate enduring housing worldwide by the end of FY09.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? The Army has four efforts that will continue in the future:
Housing Service Office: Approximately 67 percent of our Soldiers with Families reside in private-sector housing. Army housing is refining and enhancing its housing services to satisfy this requirement and increase its visibility to, and recognition by, our Soldiers. Our Housing Services Office (HSO) is the point of entry for community and privatized housing. HSO-enhanced referral services include new methods of delivery, including the Department of Defense Web-based multiple-listing service (Automatic Housing Referral Network [HYPERLINK www.ahrn.com www.ahrn.com]); intensified collaboration with other housing relocation entities and installation housing offices; and the provision of home-buying services. Army housing will increase its efforts to brand the HSO and develop an HSO accreditation program to make it more recognizable to Soldiers, their Families, and external stakeholders.
Housing Market Analysis: The Assistant Chief of Staff, Installation Management (ACSIM) has identified 97 separate installations throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia for housing market surveys, analyses, or updates. By the end of October 2007, the ACSIM will have completed 30 Housing Market Analyses, with another 24 scheduled by the end of the year and the remainder in early 2008.
Housing Professional Development & Training: The OACSIM will centrally fund $921,000 for functional and professional development training to ensure that housing employees and career specialists have the skills to manage and sustain the Army’s increasingly complex portfolio of housing assets and to provide quality services to support Soldiers’ and Families’ housing needs. Army housing is building the bench of the future through recruitment, training, and placement of Army Civilian Training, Education, and Development System interns (FY06: 12 new interns; FY07: 6 new interns; FY 08: 10 new interns [projected]) to ensure a qualified housing workforce is sustained into the future.
Leased Housing: The Army will continue to lease Army Family housing in areas where on-post housing is not sufficient or not available. Family housing leases will continue to be a transitional mechanism for housing Soldiers and their Families until RCI projects and private development catch up to demand where significant force increases are experienced due to the Army Transformation and the Grow the Army initiatives. Leasing houses is also a tool to stimulate private development in markets where development has been suppressed.
Why is this important to the Army?
Providing a high-quality, safe, and healthy residence is a crucial commitment the Army has made to Soldiers and Families. Quality Family housing is a key component of efforts to ensure increased retention and higher Soldier morale. When Soldiers are confident that their Families are taken care of in their homes and community, they are able to focus on the mission. If these needs are not fulfilled, morale is diminished and Family cohesion suffers. It is essential that the Army provide high-quality homes regardless of the type of quarters the Soldier chooses for his Family. Family housing is a readiness issue.