FORT KNOX, Ky. – Moving to a new installation can be a trying time for military and Family members, especially if a house isn’t available right away.
There are many options in place, however, for those who choose to go the route of living on post.
According to Fort Knox Housing Division Chief Mary-Ellen Correia, there are three main things incoming Soldiers and Families can do to help ensure their process goes as smoothly and stress-free as possible:
“Be proactive, be flexible, and be prepared to wait.”
The first thing to do upon receiving orders to Fort Knox is decide whether to live on or off the installation. If that decision is to go with post housing, Correia advised to act quickly.
“Once you know that you’re coming here, go onto to the Knox Hills website and apply,” said Correia. “After they apply, they need to also then try to get reservations at the hotel.”
Correia said there’s no way of knowing exactly when a home will be ready, so Families will want to have a room booked while they’re on the waitlist. She explained housing works together with the IHG lodging on post so funds don’t come out of military members’ own pockets.
“We have an agreement with IHG to accept the [Basic Allowance for Housing] rate after the 10 days of Temporary Lodging Expense is exhausted,” said Correia. “Whatever their BAH is divided by 30 days is their daily rate.”
She pointed out this benefit – which was just extended in June through the end of fiscal 2022 – is only available to Soldiers who are specifically on the waitlist for housing, and it’s only applicable at IHG facilities directly on the installation.
She said there’s also one other important step to remember.
“They have to ask for it. It doesn’t just happen,” said Correia. “They have to tell [the hotel], ‘I’m on the waitlist,’ and Knox Hills will provide them a letter.”
In addition to the option of staying at on-post hotels for a reduced rate, Correia said Lendlease offers another temporary solution to Soldiers who have been assigned a home that isn’t ready for occupancy.
“We have what are called ‘temp homes’ that are partially furnished with dishes, silverware, washer and dryer, and some basic furnishings,” said Correia.
While there are some homes that are set aside to serve as temporary lodging whenever needed, Correia said an influx of Soldiers and the need for additional temporary homes has led Lendlease to find another solution.
“We have houses that are waiting to undergo renovation,” said Correia. “Rather than have those houses just sit vacant, they get them ready and let Soldiers have a place to stay until their house is ready.”
Correia said the American Red Cross and Army Community Service provide the basic necessities to any Families placed in these houses since they won’t have access to their household goods until they get to their actual house.
Correia noted temporary homes are reserved for Soldiers and Families who have received a house assignment though the home isn’t yet ready. There is a 14-day turnaround from when previous residents leave and new ones can occupy a home, so temporary homes can be utilized when a Soldier arrives before the home is available.
The need for interim housing may be alleviated to a degree with upcoming construction, according to Correia.
“We’re getting 64 new four-bedroom homes,” Correia said, referring to an announcement made earlier this year that Fort Knox would receive $80 million toward construction of new houses as well as renovations to current ones. She said the construction project is expected to begin in 2022.
As solutions are constantly evaluated and more efforts are made, Correia said the Housing Division continues to do all it can to help Soldiers and Families smoothly move to Fort Knox.
When problems do arise?
“Don’t suffer in silence if you need help,” said Correia. “We’ll find ways to help you.”