SheCasa was born from one simple conversation between Naomi White and her husband.
The couple had a female friend attending Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, who couldn’t find a place to live that didn’t include male roommates.
Sure, Randolph Lodging was an option… but other male pilots were able to stay in “PIT Pads” or crashpads a.k.a. furnished, off-base rental homes that offered a much more comfortable experience for extended lodging at no extra cost.
Why couldn’t women pilots in training have the same option?
Welcome, SheCasa. Born July 2019. Five bedrooms, 2600 sq ft and ready to host any and all female aviators.
What was the goal behind creating SheCasa?
Naomi: My husband stayed in a PIT pad two separate times while in training at Randolph Air Force Base. Both times he had frustrations with the houses he was in, and it created unnecessary stress for him during training.
We knew we wanted to create a luxurious crash pad like no other.
Students need somewhere to stay that takes care of them while they’re in a high-stress environment. Their lodging situation should not be stressful. It should be somewhere that they can relax and unwind after long days.
(Fun fact: Less than 7% of all Air Force pilots are female, meaning they created a crash pad for an incredibly niche audience!)
What was the immediate reaction after launching SheCasa?
Naomi: The first thing we did was post on a United States Air Force Academy networking Facebook group. We shared what we had started in hopes of garnering some attention, and maybe even our first tenants!
Well… we received a lot of negative comments.
There were numerous posts from men saying “back in my day…” or “I would’ve never approved that travel voucher,” but a lot of women were liking the post without commenting.
We knew the post was being seen, we just had to wait and see what would happen.
Within two months, we had a completely full house at Randolph Air Force Base. Crazy enough – they were all fighter pilots in the T-38.
We were getting requests left and right from female pilots in Air Mobility Command asking for a SheCasa house in Altus, Oklahoma, where the C-17 schoolhouse is located.
They asked – we listened.
Within six months, we had opened the second SheCasa at Altus in early 2020.
Now, in 2023, we have four houses total. One house at Randolph, two houses at Altus, and one house in Little Rock, Arkansas.
What has been the best part of SheCasa?
Naomi: This is my dream job. It has allowed me to feel connected to the Air Force without having to wear the uniform. I have made relationships with everyone from Lieutenants to Lieutenant Colonels who have stayed in our homes.
I call many of them my “bonus daughters.” We’ve been invited to baby showers, weddings, and even SheCasa reunion trips, by amazing women who stayed in our SheCasa crash pads that now feel like family.
Have you faced a nightmare scenario?
Naomi: COVID. After opening our first SheCasa in 2019, we were not prepared for what would come less than a year later.
The pandemic was scary. Our Randolph house had been filled and operating smoothly, but we had just opened our first Altus house.
Air Education and Training Command released a memo saying that you were only allowed to stay off-base with one roommate if they were in your same training class.
Do you know how many of these training pipelines have two women in one class? Almost none.
We had one pilot submit an Exception to Policy memo asking to live with a female student from a different class, and thankfully it was approved.
It was a tough year financially, but we were able to recover the following year.
What makes SheCasa different?
Naomi: The community. How much we care. Our personal touches make each house feel like home.
In each SheCasa, the bedrooms are named after women aviators. Some of the pilots are still serving today, while others have passed on.
During COVID, we had Pelotons put into each of the homes to allow the women to workout while in quarantine, had meals delivered, and I continually checked in with text messages and phone calls.
Now, I cook homemade meals for the women local to me at Randolph, and I’ve made amazing connections in Little Rock and Altus who deliver home cooked meals to the houses there.
We celebrate the good and bad moments. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and even schedule couple’s massages for when spouses come to visit.
SheCasa is different because I put my heart and soul into each of these homes, and these women have become my second family.
Naomi hopes SheCasa will continue to grow and land where it’s needed, but she doesn’t want to expand so much that they lose the personal touch. With the number of female pilots growing, the need for SheCasas is going to be larger than ever.
SheCasa is available for any woman on TDY-orders at Randolph, Altus or Little Rock. There is no minimum stay required.