FORT HOOD — The post’s Family Housing opened its doors Saturday to show local residents what the homes it has to offer look like.
The show homes were in the Comanche II and Comanche III housing areas and were furnished to give potential renters an opportunity to see how life could be if they choose to live on post.
“It’s early in the day, but so far, so good,” said Mack Quinney, project director for Fort Hood Family Housing. “So far, the responses have been positive — it’s just a matter of what people want and what they’re looking for. This is an option for them.”
Since housing was opened to all renters on post, 150 nonactive-duty individuals or families applied — and were accepted — to live in post housing. Of those, 64 are military retirees, 35 have no affiliation with the military, and the rest are Department of Defense employees, he said. Occupancy is now at 91.5 percent — up from 88 percent in August — although there are still 400 units available.
Military housing was originally privatized in 2001, and the current managers of Fort Hood’s military housing — Lendlease — runs the housing as a business, Quinney said.
“The profit is put back into a reinvestment account, which sustains the houses and lets us rebuild the houses,” he said. “So obviously, the more occupants we have, the more money we put into the reinvestment account and the better we’re able to sustain the houses.”
Lendlease’s first priority is to military service members, however, Quinney said. As troop numbers grow on post — or as the military population grows on Fort Hood depending on authorized troop strength — options for civilians to rent on post will dwindle.
“But right now, I think this gives us the option to maintain occupancy and put money into the reinvestment account so we can sustain these houses for the long term,” he said.
Kim Gehring, a Harker Heights resident and a military veteran, brought a friend to view the homes to give her a different option than renting in northern Killeen areas that aren’t considered safe communities.
“From reading the article in the paper, I saw that people were finding what we already knew about military housing — it’s a safe and affordable solution to some of the opportunities off post that are not as safe or ‘community-like,’” she said. “Here, we get to know our neighbors and become friends as a community.”
Gehring, whose husband retired from the Army, said the option to live on post was something she felt her friend — who was once married to a soldier but no longer has a military affiliation — should take advantage of.
“This is exactly what we need for a single, older person,” she said. “And you can be a part of a community — you’re not just going to get in your house and lock the doors. I think she’s perceiving that.”