The Navy has a new strategy to helping get more military families into base housing. For the first time the Seabee base is teaming up with a private company to build nearly 200 housing units off base.
The construction of 214 on-base housing units should ease the housing crunch at the Seabee base, but officials say a solution will take much more. The base recently gained two new military units. That's an additional 500 Seabees and their families who need a place to stay.
"Obviously hurricane Katrina put a real hardship on the community which is were we look for our housing opportunities first," said Capt. Van Dobson.
The Seabee base is teaming up with a private company, GMH, to build off-base housing that GMH will own and operate for at least 50 years.. Some of which are slated to go up near the County Farm in Harrison County.
Capt. Dobson said "Off base we're going to build in a first phase about 50 homes in Harrison County and probably in the ball park of 30 homes over towards the Stennis area."
Later Dobson says another 100 off-site units will be constructed although a time frame has not been determined.
Recently a private company took over operation of the base's existing housing units. Military officials say that public private partnership has its advantages.
"The partner is able to replace the housing that needs to be replaced and renovate the housing that needs to be renovated faster than we are able to do through the budgeting process," said Capt Dobson.
The increase in military housing will not only help to get 70 families off waiting lists but also allow the base to invest more in the community.
"We view it as home," said Capt. Dobson. "We're an integral part of the community.We're happy to help any way we can and we so much appreciate the support from the community in that give and take."
Seabee Base officials say they expect the first new housing units to come on line in the Fall.