WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – Soldiers and their families in Hawaii have options when it comes to choosing where to live during their tour in paradise.
Soldiers receive a basic allowance for housing, or BAH, whether they live on or off post. Living on post is voluntary within the United States.
According to Santiago Hernandez, the garrison’s Residential Communities Initiative branch manager, the top three reasons people choose to live on post instead of off post are the close commute, affordability, and access to on-post amenities.
“Housing on the installation matches or tops what you can find in off post communities,” Hernandez said. “The average on-post home provides Soldiers and families more square footage, utilities are included, and so are other benefits such as complimentary front yard lawn care.”
U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii’s housing partner, Island Palm Communities offers no or low move-in fees, no credit checks, pest control, trash removal services, a yard, dedicated customer service teams and 24-hour housing maintenance.
There are also no security or pet deposits, and no associated fees to connect utilities.
Residents have access to nine community centers with family activities and events, 86 playgrounds, five splash parks, two swimming pools, five fitness centers, five basketball courts, two skate parks and two dog parks.
Earlier this year, Island Palm Communities announced a $30 million investment towards minor renovations at more than 620 homes; more than 160 roof replacements; and the construction of four new playgrounds.
Amenities are available to all on-post housing residents, regardless of which community they live in.
Island Palm Communities has 7,579 privatized homes on base for military families spread out on seven installations in 12 communities.
For Army spouse Lisa Billeck, living on post was the obvious choice for her family.
“There weren’t any houses off-post that could compare to what Island Palm Communities provided,” Billeck said. “Not only was everything we needed conveniently close by and the house was nice, but the support and service from Island Palm Communities was much better than what we found off-post.”
After moving in several years ago, Billeck joined an unofficial group for her community on Facebook and noticed certain concerns were raised from time to time.
When Island Palm Communities launched its Resident Advisory Board in January 2020, she decided to get involved.
The Resident Advisory Board is made up of representatives from each community who share their ideas and suggestions, express concerns and work with property management teams to develop solutions.
“Being on the Resident Advisory Board proved to be a very successful tool in resident satisfaction, addressing the needs of the neighborhood, and overall improvement,” Billeck said.
Billeck recommends anyone who has a housing issue, or are looking for ways to get involved to make their community better contact their community center or Resident Advisory Board representative.
“If a family is unsure of living on or off post here, I highly recommend on post,” Billeck said. “The security, quality and service are superior.”