Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola (NASP) is located in the panhandle of Northwest Florida. The installation covers a total of 8,423 acres of land—5,804 acres at NASP proper and more than 2,500 acres at other locations. NASP was the first Naval Air Station commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1914. Tens of thousands of Naval Aviators have received their training here. Navy Family Housing supports 549 Balfour Beatty, LLC privatized homes.
Whiting Field is responsible for an estimated 46 percent of the Chief of Naval Air Training Command’s total flight time and more than 11 percent of Navy and Marine Corps total flight time. More than 1,200 service personnel complete their essential flight training here yearly. Navy Family Housing supports 289 Balfour Beatty, LLC privatized homes.
NASP and NAS Whiting Field (NASWF) Family Housing management and operation responsibilities were combined as result of a 2002 A76 Study. Their duties include the Rental Partnership Program, Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC) and
Volunteer Realtor Program oversight, and operations and management for both installations. They support two commanding officers, and they are responsible for the associated requirements for both sites.
Gladies Wooten, housing installation program director, has more than 30 years of experience with Navy Family Housing CONUS and OCONUS. She manages the NASP and NASWF staff: Deborah Williams, Gloria Hill, Demetra Henderson, Eileen Subject, Joel Lejeune, and Angela Rickmon. The staff has complete and wholehearted fidelity to each service member or family they meet. They remain sincere and steadfast, providing Housing Service Center (HSC) assistance and acting as the advocate link on service members’ behalf when required. Their team is small but resilient—sturdy and strong.
They consistently face challenges and change while maintaining a supportive, collaborative work environment. Working together as a cooperative team member with their privatization partner ensures that installation, regional, and corporate missions are met. Our Navy and BBC teams are connected in a relationship to serve as assigned and to excel in the midst. The NASP/NASWF and Balfour Beatty staffs demonstrate the true nature of teamwork.
BBC is a FY14 twice-awarded A List recipient for customer service excellence at both installations. Navy Family Housing has actively partnered with them to maintain a 95 percent annual occupancy at both installations, while providing counseling to more than 4,300 military members and families in FY14. NASP/NASWF Referral Counselors Service counselors reviewed, validated, entered data, and assisted in the development and process mapping implementation of more than 28,000 rental listings. They fielded upwards of 2,500 telephone calls and emails, providing customer outreach to inform, seek, inspect, and list properties in an effort to ease the housing transition from the Automated Housing Referral Network to the new HOMES database. This dedicated effort allowed both service centers to continue assisting incoming service members and families with their home finding needs. Questionnaires are completed by everyone who receives housing services.
Managers and referral counselors track each service member or family from the moment they enter the office until they are settled in privatized housing or in the community. Families are instructed to remain in contact with the HSC as their advocates for the duration of their tour. When ready to PCS, they are told to return for departure services. Their counselors are their link until they are settled at their gaining activity. HSC counselors will assist individuals who are retiring.
An active, robust Rental Partnership Program (RPP) exists at NASP and NASWF. They currently have 56 active single-family home units and seven apartment complexes with 100 total RPP properties. The family housing staffs and partners have fully integrated RPP into the privatized housing relationship. They work as an integrated team that stays focused on service member needs, which allows their programs to be effective, solvent, and progressive without the perception of competition.
NASP and NASWF are the only CNRSE installations with a Volunteer Realtor Program. It was established in 1989 and is governed by a Memorandum of Agreement with the Pensacola Association of Realtors and the Commanding Officer of NASP. It provides support and assistance to military families in locating suitable and affordable rental and sales housing.
Having qualified volunteer realtors in the HSC gives their counselors tremendous depth in the services they provide to our military personnel. This volunteer service is provided in a non-threatening, non-sales type environment in the Navy Family HSC.
Utilizing the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), volunteers offer professional and accurate information on available sales and rental housing in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Additionally, general information about the community, such as schools, churches, and recreational facilities, is shared. Since the program’s inception, thousands of military members have received assistance. The program averages 40 to 55 realtor volunteers, who represent real estate offices throughout the community. The HSC staff benefits professionally through the association with community realtors and from participation in seminars presented by the Pensacola Association of Realtors and Mortgage Bankers Association. Volunteer realtors assisted more than 400 service members find community housing in FY14.
FY15 initiatives will focus on the ever-changing and challenging social media world. Service members no longer wait to receive paper packages. Typically, as soon as the member receives notification of a probable transfer location, he or she and/or his or her spouse begin searching online for information before contacting the HSC for assistance. Our teams will work with the Fleet Family Service Center, CNIC, and the region to combine efforts, define, identify, develop, and implement strategies to become a viable part of this process.
The NASP/NASWF HSC motto is derived from a Henry Ward Beecher quote: Remembering not to judge excellence at the peak of accomplishment—but to recognize the distance traveled to get there.
This article was originally published in Defense Communities Nov/Dec 2014.