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Housing Requirements and Market Analysis Frequently Asked

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									HRMA FAQs




       Air Force Housing Requirements and Market Analysis
                Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Background
We want to make sure that everyone in the housing requirements community is current with our
methodology and able to convey our process to others in general terms. The FAQs may help our
base and MAJCOM POCs answer questions from leadership or outside parties.

Purpose
To ensure clear and coordinated communication to internal audiences elected officials, media,
and the general public regarding the impacts of the HRMA process on Air Force families.

Situation
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) directed the Armed Services to adopt a consistent
approach for determining housing requirements in response to criticism from a 2001 General
Accounting Office (GAO) study that reviewed different Service’s requirement processes. The
study discovered the Services didn’t meet and support OSD’s policy to rely on local
communities’ capabilities first. GAO faulted OSD for not having a standardized requirements
methodology. Subsequently, the HRMA methodology was developed and implemented.

Key Messages
“The Air Force, acting on guidance from OSD, has undertaken a systematic and comprehensive
program to ensure the housing requirements at most installations are consistent with the abilities
of their local communities to provide safe, adequate, and affordable housing.”

“Airmen should know that HRMAs will not impact their current housing situation.”

“The Air Force is committed to ensuring all Air Force members and their families have access to
safe, quality, affordable, and well-maintained housing.”

“HRMA serves as a viable and standardized tool to assist the Air Force in identifying and
accommodating the housing needs of Air Force members and their families.”


Reference
      Air Force HRMA Guidance Manual, March 2005
      Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum dated January 8, 2003, “Housing
       Requirements Determination Process Policy Guidance”
      DoD 4165.63-M, DoD Housing Management, September 1993

POC
HQ Air Force POC for Housing Requirements is Mr. Paul Gonzalez, HQ USAF/A7CHD,
paul.gonzalez2@pentagon.af.mil, DSN 664-4049.


HQ USAF/ILEHD/Paul Gonzalez/DSN 664-4049/13 Dec 06                                   Page 1
HRMA FAQs




Frequently Asked Questions
   1.  What is an HRMA?
   2.  Why is the Air Force doing HRMAs?
   3.  How does the Air Force decide when and where an HRMA is needed ?
   4.  When did the Air Force begin the HRMA process
   5.  How long does it take?
   6.  Who conducts the HRMA?
   7.  Do HRMAs affect CONUS and OCONUS locations? What about Guard and Reserve
       bases?
   8. How does HRMA determine MFH requirements?
   9. What is the floor requirement?
   10. If an HRMA is conducted that indicates a surplus of housing, will residents be forced to
       leave their housing units?
   11. How can installations minimize the impact of an HMRA that identifies surplus units?
   12. What does an HRMA consider to be "unsuitable" housing?
   13. Why does the HRMA use a 60-minute commute time?
   14. Will DoD specify the terms in which the 60 minute commute footprint should be applied
       in a given market, to ensure this doesn't evolve to become an "acceptable" commuting
       standard?
   15. What was the basis for determining the footprint? Did the HRMA study measure the
       average commute distances at each subject base? Or was the "worse case" model (i.e.
       Washington DC, Los Angeles, etc.) employed?
   16. Explain the differences between the HRMA market area and the BAH market area.
   17. What impacts will HRMA have on airmen and their families?
   18. Will you continue to run HRMAs at privatized bases, when the Air Force no longer owns
       the houses?
   19. How does the methodology of the HRMA account for the privatized housing? How are
       the waterfall residents taken into account in the HRMA process?
   20. Can you clarify the process for resolving disputes with the data collected for an HRMA?
   21. Is the HRMA report releasable to the public under FOIA?
   22. Could you explain some of the terms used in the HRMA process?




1. What is an HRMA?
A Housing Requirements & Market Analysis (HRMA) is a detailed analytical study that
determines MFH requirements for personnel at individual Air Force bases. It assesses the ability
of the private sector to potentially house military families. It analyzes local communities’
capacity for housing military families in suitable and affordable housing facilities. It assumes
that the only U.S. government controlled housing available in five years would be the minimum
required for the installation (K&E, etc). The HRMA helps determine the scope of MILCON or
privatization projects for those families that may not be successful in finding safe, quality,
affordable, and well-maintained housing.


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2. Why is the Air Force doing HRMAs?
According to OSD policy, the Air Force assesses the ability of the off-base market to suitably
house our service members before initiating military construction on-base. That is, we seek to
house our airmen off-base first. The Air Force has an obligation to ensure safe, quality,
affordable, and well-maintained housing is available—either in the community or on base—to
support military families at all Air Force installations. The HRMA is our first tool in identifying
off-base housing capacity. The housing requirements data collected in this effort is used to
justify MFH requirements, build future Budgets (via POM, APOM, etc), and define the Air
Force Family Housing Master Plan. The HRMA is also the source document for identifying
project scope in housing privatization projects. A standardized approach across the services
helps validate requirements for MFH appropriations from Congress.


3. How does the Air Force decide when and where an HRMA is
needed?
Air Staff conducts HRMAs at locations a) where there is a normal rental housing market
available to the military member, and b) where these service members are allowed the choice to
live in that rental market. Obviously, this definition applies to most Air Force bases, both
CONUS and overseas. At locations where ATFP concerns restrict the military members to on-
base housing, an HRMA is not required--currently only Osan and Incirlik ABs, are excluded
from conducting HRMAs. Even so, Air Staff reserves the right to accelerate or defer conducting
an HRMA at any installation depending on current conditions and mission impact.

4. When did the Air Force begin the HRMA process?
Although the new housing requirements determination guidance policy was signed in January of
2003, the Air Force began using the current HRMA process in the fall of 2002. As of December
2006, we are currently conducting our third cycle within this process—HRMAs are typically
conducted every three or four years at each base.


5. How long does it take?
The length of time varies, but generally, it takes about four to six months to complete.


6. Who conducts the HRMA?
HRMAs are conducted by contracted economists who are experts in analyzing supply and
demand relationships within housing markets.




HQ USAF/ILEHD/Paul Gonzalez/DSN 664-4049/13 Dec 06                                    Page 3
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7. Do HRMAs affect CONUS and OCONUS locations? What about
Guard and Reserve bases?
HRMAs are conducted at both CONUS and OCONUS locations. Guard and reserve bases do not
have military family housing and therefore do not have HRMAs.


8. How does HRMA determine MFH requirements?
The analysis assesses the housing market each year throughout a five-year period. It considers
annual changes, if any, in total authorized manpower and changes in the demand for private
sector housing from military families assuming the installation attempts to adjust from its current
inventory of U.S. government controlled housing to its floor requirement. A military market
share is computed for each year of the analysis based on competition of only those military and
civilian households actively seeking housing during the year and available rental units either
turning over or newly constructed in the market. The total MFH requirement is determined as the
sum of the floor requirement plus any shortfall of private sector housing in the fifth year of the
analysis.


9. What is the floor requirement?
HRMA guidance policy provides the military departments with the option to maintain a
minimum on-base military community (i.e. “floor requirement”) based on one or more of the
following four criteria: preservation of a military community for military families, housing for
personnel in key and essential positions, preservation of historic housing, and housing for the
personnel whose level of regular military compensation is below 50 percent of the median family
income in the local area. Military departments may use the rule that produces the greatest
requirement for each pay grade, but may not combine rules within pay grades.


10. If an HRMA is conducted that indicates a surplus of housing, will
residents be forced to leave their housing units?
No. Current MFH residents should not be apprehensive about how an HRMA will impact their
housing situation. When a surplus of housing units is indicated at an installation, the reduction in
MFH units will be spread over a four to five year period and will often be accomplished through
a normal turnover of residents.


11. How can installations minimize the impact of an HMRA that
identifies surplus units?
HRMAs will determine that an installation has surplus housing after a thorough study of the
Housing Market Area (HMA). This brings up an obvious concern over the welfare of families
now living in military housing. Some ways that we can help include:

      Actively manage the units identified as surplus. Start planning now so that disposition
       occurs in a deliberate, intelligent manner.



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      Get involved in the determination of the BAH survey area data (see FAQ # 15).
      Phase the disposal of surplus units over the entire 5-year study period, if possible, and be
       alert to policy guidance that gives you flexibility in executing the program. Inadequate
       surplus housing must be programmed for disposal by 2007 in the CONUS and 2009 at
       overseas locations.


12. What does an HRMA consider to be "unsuitable" housing?
Air Force standards for judging suitability of community housing are based on DoD 4165.63-m
(section 2.4.3). Some of the criteria for identifying housing as unsuitable include:

      Housing that is not within the commute distance or is designated by the base commander
       as unacceptable for health and safety reasons (the Air Force interprets this to include
       reasonable absence of crime)
      Housing that is more expensive than the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) or does not
       meet minimum size standards (although size alone is not generally sufficient to make
       housing unsuitable)
      Housing that is not well maintained and structurally sound or that has inadequate utility
       services. Rental mobile homes are not considered suitable for military personnel in these
       analyses


13. Why does the HRMA use a 60-minute commute time?
The HRMA market area coincides with the military housing area (MHA) which is used by the
compensation offices to determine the basic allowance for housing. The MHA generally looks at
an area that is within 60 minutes of the major work centers of an installation per OSD policy that
establishes a reasonable maximum commute distance for determining BAH entitlements. This
does not, however, mean the Air Force expects all personnel to commute that distance. This
standard is used to create a "footprint" within which the analyst looks for suitable housing that
could potentially be available.

14. Will DoD specify the terms in which the 60 minute commute
footprint should be applied in a given market, to ensure this doesn't
evolve to become an "acceptable" commuting standard?
Yes. The Air Force's process for developing HRMAs is consistent with current OSD policies.
We will continue to use a 60-minute commute as the starting point until OSD changes that
policy. The actual commute distance used to determine the boundaries of the housing market
area is normally less than a pure 60-minute driving commute. The 60-minute starting point is
consistent with OSD policy for defining the data collection area used to calculate BAH for
families living off base. Additionally, DoD manual 4165.63M states that community housing
within a 1-hour commute is considered acceptable for housing military families unless otherwise
determined by the installation commander based on mission requirements.




HQ USAF/ILEHD/Paul Gonzalez/DSN 664-4049/13 Dec 06                                    Page 5
HRMA FAQs



15. What was the basis for determining the footprint? Did the HRMA
study measure the average commute distances at each subject base?
Or was the "worse case" model (i.e. Washington DC, Los Angeles,
etc.) employed?
The process for defining the HRMA commute distance is to begin with a 60-minute commute
from the major work centers of the base. In most cases, the starting point is the wing
headquarters building. The 60-minute commute line is defined by the HRMA contractor using
driving times at the peak of rush hour. Average waiting times at the gates to account for security
delays (AT/FP measures) are incorporated into that driving time. The installation commander
also has the authority to identify housing areas within that commute distance that are unsuitable
for military families.


16. Explain the differences between the HRMA market area and the
BAH market area.
The HRMA Housing Market Area defines the first “filter” outside of which private sector rental
housing is unsuitable (due to excessive commuting time/distance). The HRMA Housing Market
Area maintains a relative midpoint at the installation center. Private sector rental cost data for
units located within the boundary are used in the HRMA analysis by comparing actual rental cost
to the military members’ BAH.

Whereas the HRMA Housing Market Area may cut across many geographic and political
boundaries including ZIP codes, the BAH Military Housing Area uses ZIP codes as their
boundary. Accordingly, once any portion of a ZIP code is included in the Military Housing Area
boundary, the entire ZIP code region is part of the Military Housing Area. BAH Military
Housing Area boundaries may be significantly different than HRMA Housing Market Areas,
particularly in more rural areas where ZIP codes extend for significant distances.

We are aware of these difference in methodology and, while the BAH process and HRMA
process are meant to solve different problems, we continue to find ways to reduce these
discrepancies wherever possible.


17. What impacts will HRMA have on airmen and their families?
HRMA will assist the Air Force in identifying and accommodating the housing needs of Air
Force members and their families to help ensure they have access to safe, quality, affordable, and
well-maintained housing.


18. Will you continue to run HRMAs at privatized bases, when the Air
Force no longer owns the houses?
Yes. The purpose of HRMAs is to assess the capacity of the market to supply housing for our
airmen. Therefore, an HRMA continues to be a necessity even after privatization to determine
how fluctuations in market conditions and changes in mission requirements affect the off-base



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capacity to house our members (a lack of capacity off-base thus defines our requirement for
housing on-base). Our intent is to continue to conduct HRMAs at privatized bases every four
years after award. For MILCON bases (and pre-privatized bases), we will continue to conduct
HRMAs and HRMA updates every 2 years. As more bases become privatized, we may see a
reduction in HRMA frequency over time, all bases will continue to be evaluated.

19. How does the methodology of the HRMA account for the
privatized housing? How are the waterfall residents taken into
account in the HRMA process?
Currently, the HRMA process interprets privatized housing that is not in the waterfall as "MFH".
That is, the housing is for exclusive use of military families and not competed off-base in the
regular market, therefore, the units cannot be considered "off-base supply".

20. Can you clarify the process for resolving disputes with the data
collected for an HRMA?
As we start each HRMA, we provide each base with our “Rules of Engagement” to ensure that
every participant in the process understands their role, and our approach to resolving disputes.
Overall, any disagreements should focus on data or assumptions rather than the underlying OSD
policy—the process is the process. In general, we take the following steps:

      A disagreement is brought to the attention of the HRMA contractor and the MAJCOM
       POC to try to come to an understanding or resolution;
      If a solution is not found, the base and MAJCOM should submit the issue to HQ
       USAF/A7CHD to additional mediation, brainstorming, and conflict resolution. Typically
       a telephone conference is held between all parties to seek agreement that is acceptable to
       all parties;
      If issues are still unresolved, MAJCOM/A7CH can submit their concern to AF/A7CH.

Our goal is to try to resolve all concerns and seek agreement from all parties before the HRMA is
briefed to the base Wing/CC. If absolutely necessary, Air Staff may set up a meeting between
Wing/CC or CV, appropriate MAJCOM POCs and Air Staff Secretariat level representatives.


21. Is the HRMA report releasable to the public under FOIA?
Only the HRMA Executive Summary is releasable under a Freedom of Information Act request
(FOIA). AF/ILEH interprets the remainder of the report as “deliberative process information”
under FOIA Exemption 5, 5 U.S.C. § (b)(5). The HRMA report is a deliberative document used
by the Air Force to make decisions on future housing requirements. Recommendations are based
in part in the assessment of current market information gathered in the field, specifically housing
market trends, for a specific geographic location. The HRMA makes a projection of housing
needs using available market data, including interviews with local developers, real estate firms,
and government entities. This market data (which at times can be testimonial or subjective in
nature) is “inextricably intertwined” with the findings of the report. The HRMA does contain
information that may not be deliberative in nature. However, the release of this information may



HQ USAF/ILEHD/Paul Gonzalez/DSN 664-4049/13 Dec 06                                    Page 7
HRMA FAQs


influence future HRMA results and reveal the Air Force’s deliberations process in future market
analyses.

22. Could you explain some of the terms used in the HRMA process?
Some of the most common terms used in the HRMA program are:

      HRMA. Housing Requirements and Market Analysis. A study conducted by analysts
       who are expert in economics, real estate, market analysis, and Air Force military family
       housing programs. The purpose of the HRMA is to identify a requirement for on-base
       family housing.
      HMA. Housing Market Area. The market area studied in the HRMA. This area is
       determined as a “reasonable commute” usually a 60-minute commute or a 20-mile radius
       from the center of the base.
      IMRD. Integrated Manpower Requirements Document. An internal housing database
       used to estimate the projected manpower for all Air Force installations, based on
       AF/A1MZ-provided data. The IMRD also establishes demographic parameters for each
       installation, such as percent of accompanied and unaccompanied personnel, percent
       military-married-to-military and percent voluntary separations.
      MHA. Military Housing Area. This is the area that is considered when establishing the
       BAH rate at a specific location. Although every effort is made to make the BAH military
       housing area and HRMA housing market area coincide, these may at time diverge.




HQ USAF/ILEHD/Paul Gonzalez/DSN 664-4049/13 Dec 06                                 Page 8

								
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