Temporary lodging expenses to change in 2013 for incoming Soldiers, Families
December 20, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Beginning Jan. 1, Soldiers and Family Members moving to Fort Drum may only claim up to 10 days of temporary lodging expenses to cover additional living expenses during a permanent change of station.
Currently, Fort Drum and Fort Bliss, Texas, are the only military installations that can have more than 10 days of TLE, according to William Bamann, Directorate of Public Works' chief of Residential Communities Initiative / Housing Division.
"(A law was passed in 2007 that allowed) for the temporary extension of TLE at installations that experienced a natural disaster and in an area declared a disaster area by the president or has experienced a sudden increase in troop strength," Bamann said.
He added that in 2007, Fort Drum's TLE rate was temporarily increased to 20 days due to the increase in troop strength and the installation's housing shortage. That changed to 60 days when the 2008 law allowed for it.
Soldiers and Families were facing long waiting times to find suitable housing, forcing some to buy homes in the area because of the limited availability of rental property.
"This authorization was meant to be a temporary measure until enough new housing was built or the housing demand eased to the point Soldiers wouldn't incur excessively long wait times to secure suitable housing," Bamann said.
Since then housing shortages have subsided due to the "addition of some 2,700 new rental units constructed since 2007 … and the ongoing construction of over 1,100 new rental housing units that are being delivered in the market now through 2014," Bamann continued.
"Also, our troop population has stabilized and started to reduce," he said.
From April 2010 to March 2011, information from Defense Finance and Accounting Service showed that only 13 percent of Soldiers arriving at Fort Drum used more than 20 days of TLE, which resulted in a reduction from 60 days to 30 in 2012, Bamann said.
"(Recent) data we obtained from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service shows only 8 percent of incoming Soldiers submitting TLE claims used more than 10 days (from January to October of this year), he explained, adding that housing availability has greatly improved at Fort Drum, alleviating the housing problem experienced several years ago.
It is important for incoming Soldiers and Families to begin the housing process before arriving at Fort Drum, Bamann said. Resources and information can be found online at www.drum.army. mil/PublicWorks/Pages/Housing.aspx. Soldiers and Families also should contact Mountain Community Homes Welcome Home Center at 955-6644 or www. fortdrummch.com to start the process of determining their housing options.
Those who require additional assistance due to special needs and circumstances can contact the Army Community Housing Office at the Welcome Home Center in Clark Hall by calling 772-6883 / 9397.