Frustrated families say efforts should have come sooner
With big moves slated this year for some residents of three U.S. military housing areas, those who attended town hall meetings last week said they were still left in the dark or frustrated over how base officials are handling the situation.
Airman 1st Class Stephanie Behringer, who resides in the Anglo Housing (Lords Walk) housing area, is one of them.
If lease negotiations fail, she may have to move out of her house as early as July. She needs to know for certain if the move will happen because she’s expected to deploy in September, she said.
“I want to know if and where I’m moving and how much it’s going to cost me,” the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron cargo specialist said after the Anglo briefing.
“They kept going around in circles saying, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’” she said of her talks with housing officials about her issues.
Her home falls under the first phase of a six-phase lease plan at Anglo Housing. Each lease in each phase expires on a different date. Air Force officials hope lease negotiations will be successful and all phased areas at Anglo Housing will be retained for base families.
Behringer heard rumors of the moves for almost a year but wishes an official meeting on the issue had taken place months ago, instead of last week.
“I heard about this before I even moved to Lords Walk in April of last year,” she said.
Jessica Doherty and Jayme Arens, both 488th Intelligence Squadron spouses, feel the same way. They attended the Studlands Park briefing.
“We should have been given a heads-up,” Doherty said. “People could have been looking for off-base housing or put their spouse on the housing list to move before it became an issue for everyone to do it all at once.”
We heard that there was going to be a meeting since January, but they kept pushing it off,” Arens said.
They also are worried about their children being uprooted from the British schools they currently attend.
In the Anglo Housing meeting, parents were annoyed because they will have to escort children younger than 10 to the security gate to attend school at RAF Lakenheath. This will take effect once the homes are pushed off base and the new Gate 2 opens on May 31, said Col. John Clarke, 48th Mission Support Group commander.
Clarke said there are plans to construct crosswalks and a pedestrian guard rail as part of the Gate 2 project to keep children and others safe while walking onto the base. Volunteer crossing guards will be needed as well to ensure safety.
Once Anglo homes are moved off base, Clarke asked residents to report emergencies to the British authorities by dialing 999. He did, however, say that incidents involving life and safety will not be ignored by the base.
“Don’t feel like we’re abandoning you,” he told the crowd.