New housing policy gives enlisted families priority on-post
June 14, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany -- A newly-revised housing policy for U.S. Army Europe requires that all garrisons in Europe house up to 100 percent of all accompanied junior enlisted personnel on post, along with up to 10 percent of accompanied officers and senior enlisted service members.
The policy, published in March by USAREUR, was put into effect in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart on June 1.
According to the policy memorandum signed by USAREUR Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, the purpose for the revision is to "allocate more housing for junior enlisted families so that they have better access to on-post support facilities."
The policy will also alleviate the financial burden these service members - privates through staff sergeants - face in paying for accommodations on the economy.
"Housing in Germany is expensive," said Col. Richard M. Pastore, USAG Stuttgart commander. "It impacts our enlisted families to a much greater degree than it does senior enlisted and officers. [The policy] will give them much nicer and more spacious accommodations on post than they would be able to afford off post."
It also helps junior-level service members and families acclimate to a new place, especially in a foreign country, said Staff Sgt. James Davis, who is working on his fourth tour of duty in Germany. Davis and his family live in off-post housing.
"If it's your first time in Europe, it's better to live on post," he said. "[Off post] you're dealing with paying your bills, and you have to learn to speak a little bit of German."
In order to make room for incoming junior enlisted families, the garrison housing office has re-allocated 39 buildings - currently used as officer or senior enlisted housing - for junior enlisted service members and their families.
In addition, 158 stairwell units currently being renovated will help provide on-post housing for junior enlisted families.
"This means we'll be able to house a significant percentage of junior enlisted [families]. Based on the community's footprint, chances are we're going to be able to house more than 10 percent of the senior enlisted and officer families," Pastore said.
No one currently housed on post (or off post) will have to move.
"It's done by attrition," said Iris Jones, chief of the Stuttgart Housing Division. "Everyone will get to maintain their quarters until their DEROS [Date Eligible for Return from Overseas] dates."
When accompanied junior enlisted personnel arrive, they will be given available government housing.
For the next two to three years, the buildings that have been re-designated will be occupied by both officers and enlisted personnel, Pastore said.
During the transition, garrison residents may experience some frustrations. However, inconveniences pale in comparison to the policy's benefits, Pastore said.
"It's all about helping junior enlisted families financially, but also giving them a very nice set of quarters to live in," he said. "This is bringing them on base with access to all the facilities and the benefits they entail."
As accompanied senior enlisted personnel and officers arrive, some will receive government housing; however, the majority of them will be housed off-post.
"This is not that unusual, however, as we can accommodate only about 30 percent of our entire population on post," said Pastore.
However, Housing Chief Jones doesn't foresee any problems with finding enough housing.
"We have a team diligently working to bring more off-post housing into our inventory to accommodate the new housing policy," she added.
Jones knows her team can handle the extra load.
"We can take that challenge. We did it before," she said, referring to when U.S. Africa Command was stood up two years ago, flooding the housing office with military and civilian personnel.
In addition, the housing office will help families with young children find a home near one of the garrison schools.
"We're going to try to house as many families on post as we possibly can," she said.