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RAF LAKENHEATH — Though securing on-base housing here could still take up to two years, homes just outside the gate have opened up for military members and their families.

Between 60 and 80 houses now are available for those seeking government housing, thanks to recent congressional approval that paves the way for the Air Force to continue leasing the dwellings in the Anglo Housing area, or Lords Walk.

Housing officials had been waiting on the OK from Congress for months, keeping the houses in that section of the sprawling government-leased neighborhood empty as families moved out.

"It was a huge concern," said Lt. Col. John Baker, 48th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "But this gives us more flexibility and our people more opportunity."

The inventory has virtually cleared up the waiting list for the neighborhood, though there’s still a waiting list for four-bedroom homes, Baker said.

However, there are government homes available in the 15 other government housing areas throughout East Anglia that support RAFs Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell. Servicemembers and their families who live in government housing do not pay rent or utility bills but do not receive the overseas housing allowance.

"We can move people into homes right now, it just depends on where they want to live," said Tech. Sgt. Jill LaVoie, Lakenheath spokeswoman.

Still, many people are holding out for the American-style homes at Liberty Village, the newly constructed neighborhood on Lakenheath. Once the final phase is complete, Liberty Village will include 606 homes.

Meanwhile, the private lease-holders of Newmarket’s two housing areas, Studlands Park and Soham, did not renew their contracts with the Air Force. Those leases, which included 371 homes, expire Dec. 31. About 22 families are still living there, and they will soon have to move.

For more information about government housing, call the East Anglian Housing Office at 01638 52 2000 or 226-2000.

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