by Leanna Lehman -- Finding affordable housing to rent has become incredibly difficult in the Fallon area. With rental prices escalating and a shortage in homes available to purchase, Naval Air Station Fallon personnel and their families face serious challenges when faced with finding housing. Impacting local renters and incoming military personnel alike, various factors continue to put additional pressure on an already strained housing market. The Tahoe Reno Industrial Center at USA Parkway on Interstate 80 continues to grow with an influx of workers who look to Fallon to combat ever-increasing housing costs in Washoe County. With the median home price in Reno at $350,000 and the traffic congestion between there and TRI, there is even more demand on the Fallon area housing supply. According to the most recent available statistics, from 2017, median home prices in Churchill County were $169,100. The median mortgage payment was $1,196 and the median rent is $851. As of today, according to the website listings of available rental properties in Fallon, there are 16 apartments, six homes, and two mobile homes for rent. The average price of the homes is $1,210. Although new construction is underway to expand base housing, some military families have been displaced and forced into the local rental market. According to Zip Upham, NAS Fallon Public Affairs Officer, the housing situation is considered “critical.” Many families are now commuting to work at the base from Fernley, Silver Springs, and Lovelock in an effort to secure affordable housing. New homes are being built in base housing to accommodate current and projected needs and several existing homes are also being renovated. However, the project isn’t scheduled for completion until late 2020, possibly extending into 2021, according to Upham. The housing expansion project will generate 219 higher-end and newly remodeled homes and another program is in place to add an additional 83 homes, although that plan is still several years out. “While other military bases across the nation face some housing and tenancy issues, the problem here is unique,” says Upham, “there just isn’t enough housing.” Further complicating the housing crisis, is the high cost of renting a house in Churchill County right now. Sailors who live off-base receive a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) that is based on various factors, including rank. “Junior personnel don’t receive a huge BAH and any difference between their rent and their allowance comes out of their pocket,” Upham explains. Basic pay rates for enlisted personnel do not bridge the gap. “While families stationed in places like Hawaii expect higher housing costs, those coming to Fallon do not,” Upham further explains. When Navy personnel receive a new duty station assignment and no housing is available, families end up separated with spouses and children staying on at the previous duty station or back to their home of record until housing can be secured. “Service members expect to be able to bring their families, so this is creating a very stressful situation,” states Upham. The military now outsources both the construction and property management of base housing but advocates through the Housing Office for service members when they face housing shortages. Upham says “the intent of the Housing Office is to stay very engaged with personnel to help determine what the problems are.” But adds that while the Housing Office strives to be responsive to tenant needs, this housing shortage is not a problem they can easily resolve.
Critical Housing Situation for NAS Fallon
- 2019-03-07, 09:19 PM