Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce hosts presentation on military housing needs

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:46 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As military service members and their families continue to move to the Interior for the F-35 Mission at Eielson Air Force Base, the Fairbanks North Star Borough is tasked with finding housing for them.

With more military families set to arrive this year, borough Mayor Bryce Ward gave a presentation on the topic at this week’s Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce business luncheon.

Fairbanks Chamber Board of Directors member Bill Bailey sounded the alarm during the luncheon, saying, “If we want to stay in the game, and be considered out in D.C., particularly for our congressional delegation, as a viable location for additional resources to support the Arctic Strategy... you guys, we gotta solve this problem.”

In response to the situation, the Fairbanks North Star Borough has analyzed trends in housing supply and demand to identify points during the year when housing will be more difficult. According to Ward, “That seasonality is really important. So when we look at this from an annual basis, the numbers say we’re okay, but the key piece is when those folks are arriving.”

The borough calculates that each personnel member corresponds to just over half a housing unit needed. “Of the 226 personnel that we’ve got that are slated to arrive as growth for the F-35 mission, we know that that means about 136 units are needed,” Ward said.

Not all available housing in the borough meets the needs of the military. The borough eliminated potential housing based on location, then quality. “It’s those dry cabins, trailers, things that are not going to make the bar, if you will, for military,” Ward explained.

The mayor proposed different ways to solve the housing gap, including tax incentives. He ended his presentation on an optimistic note, saying, “Together, as a community, we’re going to have a really great slate of options available for developers this summer. It’s going to be a crazy year, but we’ve got a lot of opportunity, and we’ve got some great things on the horizon for this community.”

Next Tuesday, the chamber’s luncheon will feature a presentation about reducing light pollution to better view the northern lights.

More information about the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce can be found here.

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