Local veteran petitions BAFB opening housing to civilians

Local veteran petitions BAFB opening housing to civilians

BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - A local veteran is turning his complaints into action after finding out Barksdale Air Force Base is opening its gates to civilians for housing.

Kelly Boudria, a 25-year Army veteran, has started an online petition asking Barksdale Family Housing to reverse their decision to allow civilians to move on base. 

"My first initial reaction was, as a veteran, was just anger, because I can't wrap my head around it," Boudria said. 

In addition to creating the petition, Boudria has also written letters to both Louisiana senators and his congressman to get their attention about the issue.  

"I am not an activist, per se, but it is very near and dear to my heart," he said. 

Boudria has lived on base before and feels there is a feeling of safety and security knowing all of your neighbors are military men and women. He feels that bringing civilians on base would be a safety risk and would be a continuation of eroding military benefits.

According to Barksdale Family Housing Community Director Dreamer Dowden, civilian rental prospects will undergo rigorous background checks  before being considered. Still, Boudria doesn't believe that will be enough.

Dowden explained the move to allow civilians on base is necessary financially, because not enough active duty airmen are choosing to live on base.
Boudria feels the management group hasn't looked at all of their options.

"I believe it is in the commander's option, probably in his purview, he could probably make housing mandatory on base," he said.  

"I've experienced that situation living on Fort Polk 15 years ago, on-base housing was mandatory and they didn't have a problem filling houses," Boudria said.  

 He hopes his petition can gain traction.

"My ideal outcome would be a total reversal of the decision," he said. 

The base won't be open to civilians forever, just until they are 95 percent capacity. 

"[At that point] we will no longer give new leases to civilians," Dowden said.

Those interested in leasing a Barksdale Family Housing home can call (318) 747-2723 or visit www.barksdalefamilyhousing.com to make an appointment to view the community. Boudria's petition can be viewed here.

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