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A high number of vacancies at the Negishi Housing Area attached to Yokosuka Naval Base is helping some Naval Air Facility Atsugi personnel find new and improved homes.

Yokosuka housing officials have found it tough to fill Negishi, an older area due to be returned to Japan in about a decade. At a Negishi town hall meeting in April, base and school officials, citing the decreasing number of residents, suggested that classes at Negishi’s elementary school might have to be combined.

Negishi is roughly an hour’s drive from Yokosuka. Atsugi, an hour’s drive in another direction, faced a different problem: not enough housing. Sailors there often are on waiting lists and civilians can wait up to three years for on-base housing. Some of the existing units are undergoing renovations, leaving even fewer options.

Last week, housing officials from both bases announced their solution: Anyone eligible for on-base housing at Atsugi, at all pay grades and including civilians, now can move to Negishi — with all costs to be borne by Yokosuka’s housing office.

“It came about because of the high number of vacancies at Negishi,” said Marnie Goodson, Atsugi’s housing director. “They’re trying to encourage more occupancy.”

For Atsugi personnel, she added, “it’s a real benefit. It gets you away from work and you’re still within a community of your peers. The houses are in great shape.”

Negishi, in Yokohama, has about 400 units, including detached houses with yards, duplexes and townhouses. Many are, or soon will be, renovated and repainted.

And Negishi residents can have up to three pets, Goodson said.

The housing area has bowling, a theater and support facilities such as a Child Development Center and Fleet and Family Support.

And under a special agreement, bachelors can occupy one-bedroom units usually reserved for families, Goodson said.

The development takes some of the burden off Goodson’s office, she said, especially with 114 Atsugi units unoccupied because they’re being prepped for renovation. Negishi, Goodson noted, is a bit of a drive from Atsugi, but the change means more options for personnel assigned to the naval air facility.

“It’s a great choice that they have now,” she said.

Ready to move?

For information or for Atsugi personnel to request a move to Negishi, contact Yokosuka’s Housing Office at DSN 243-8839.

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