'Home of the Blue' campaign showcases privatized military family housing

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With an average of more than 500 new or renovated homes entering the privatized housing inventory each month, the Air Force goal of creating quality homes and thriving communities for Airmen and their families is well under way.

Now officials at the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment are launching an information campaign to showcase how privatized housing is creating thriving Air Force communities.

The "Home of the Blue" campaign is a Year of the Air Force Family initiative showcasing the successes and benefits of the housing privatization program that hugely contributes to the quality of life for Airmen and their families. The campaign includes:

-- Extensive media coverage of privatization efforts and success stories;
-- Targeted site visits with installation, private venture partners, and senior Air Force stakeholders to leverage and promote lessons learned;
-- Use of uniform, ready access information systems such as Air Force Web sites to improve awareness and understanding of the program.

"As we observe the Year of the Air Force Family, providing families the tools they need to make informed decisions is in the best interest of the Airmen, their families and the Air Force," said Dennis Firman, AFCEE director. "The 'Home of the Blue' campaign will help Airmen understand the program and address many of the questions they may have about housing privatization."

Air Force officials began privatizing housing in 1998 as a way to improve the quality of life for Air Force families by improving the condition of their housing. At the time, the Air Force had 104,000 military housing units its inventory, most of them built between 1948 and 1975. More than 40,000 units were considered inadequate.

"AFCEE provides centralized oversight of the housing privatization program supporting the Air Force's goal to create thriving communities where Airmen and their families will choose to live," Mr. Firman said.

Under the housing privatization initiative, approximately 38,000 units have been privatized at 44 bases. The Air Force goal is to select the highest ranked offerors for the remaining projects by the end of fiscal 2010 and then negotiate and close these projects by the end of fiscal 2011.

"Privatized housing is a dramatic change from the way we've traditionally housed Air Force families," said Kathleen Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. "With their access to resources, private developers can deliver a high quality product at a lower cost to the Air Force. To date, private developers have invested nearly $6.5 billion in developing quality homes and communities for Airmen and their families. Together we are creating a 'Home of the Blue' that our families will be proud to call home. This campaign will help Airmen, families, leadership and local communities see firsthand the benefits of thriving (housing privatization) communities."