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1st in Air Force: Off-base dorms for single airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mateo Parra
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Cannon Air Force Base leadership, the Air Force Civil Engineering Center and local community leaders have combined efforts to provide single airmen a new off-base dormitory complex in Clovis, set to open with a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 8.

The 200-room complex is currently being constructed and is the first of its kind in the Air Force, exclusively housing single airmen with furnished dorms and updated appliances. Airmen residents will have their own private living space and bathroom, and share a kitchen and living room with one other resident. The public-private lease will provide 200 additional beds for Cannon AFB airmen when the project is complete.

In February, Cannon AFB’s dorms were occupied at 104% capacity. This meant arriving airmen were indefinitely doubled up in rooms, instead of the typical Air Force standard of one private room per individual. Typically, unaccompanied airmen with less than three years of service are required to stay in the dorms, but many received early move-out incentives to avoid negative quality of life impacts from the high occupancy rate. These airmen were given the option of using their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to find living accommodations in the local area, raising additional concerns regarding Cannon AFB’s capacity to provide housing for its incoming single airmen.

“We realized that the dorm shortage has always been a real concern at Cannon, but it was going to be amplified by a couple of factors,” said Lt. Col. Michael Kittrell, 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group deputy commander. “We’ve discovered that historically, Cannon has a higher density of young single, enlisted airmen. We can’t expect them to easily find safe and affordable housing commensurate with their BAH as young junior airmen, especially in already strained private housing market in remote and isolated installations like Cannon AFB. We needed an interim bridging solution for them.”

As a result, the Cannon AFB House Hunters Initiative, rooted in the Five and Thrive  vision, began in March.

As a part of Five and Thrive’s Safe and Affordable Housing subcommittee, the team is dedicated to pathfinding innovative solutions to provide housing for incoming single airmen. They meet weekly to brainstorm and develop options that could remedy Cannon AFB’s lack of dorm space and the local area’s lack of housing options for single airmen. The new dorm complex was one such option.

“We couldn’t have done this without community partnerships, the value they bring to the installation is unmatched,” Kittrell said. “Their help with this initiative improves our overall mission quality and quality of life for airmen.”

By pathfinding ways to change the status quo of how we traditionally provide safe and affordable housing for our Air Commandos in a timely and effective manner, Cannon AFB’s House Hunting Initiative is committed to improving the quality of life for Air Commandos at Cannon, one step at a time.

“I’m exceptionally proud of the team who put this effort together and humbled by the level of support from our Air Force Senior Leaders who brought it to reality,” said Col. Jeremy Bergin, 27th Special Operations Wing commander. “This is a momentous occasion in the history of Cannon Air Force Base and is a huge success for our Airmen and our community. This is just one of our many initiatives to improve the quality of life here, and I’m really excited about where we are headed.”