do you live on or off base housing?

Nicole - posted on 06/07/2009 ( 47 moms have responded )

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My husband is in the Air Force and stationed at Langley in Virginia. The base housing here is HORRIBLE! The houses are old and tiny and decrepit looking. I don't understand how the military make it's families live in those conditions! I believe they're in the process of tearing them down and rebuilding them, but all I've seen so far is just the tearing down. Needless to say, we live off base. Our apartment is so much nicer than the base housing. I think it's bigger, too. This is our first duty station, and I was just wondering if all the base housing was like this. The area here isn't bad, so in my opinion it's way better to live off base. But I can understand a base in another area might not be that great so living on base would be better. We've also been trying to get orders for years now with no luck, we've been at Langely for almost 6 years! Are there any nice Air Force bases stateside anyone would recommend? How is the area and the base housing?

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Angel - posted on 02/02/2012

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I am a prior Navy brat, prior active duty AF member, and current AF spouse. I've lived on and off base throughout my entire life. Base housing is what it is - it's not luxurious - it's meant to give us a roof over our heads and the peace of mind not having to worry about excess bills, shoddy landlords, and the like. Base housing has a lot going for it - proximity to spouse's job, possible on base schools, comfortable housing, playgrounds, shopettes, Girl/Boy Scout chapters, community center, youth center, swimming pool, Commissary, and BX all within walking distance (most of the time). There is the security of knowing that you're amongst people who know what you're going through in life, unlike living off base where people keep to themselves and don't share in the military lifestyle and long deployment based separations. I've heard people say that you can pocket a lot of money living off base - but just because you get BAH doesn't mean that you will make money. The last two assignments we lived off base. Our mortgage at our first assignment was slightly below our BAH amount - so that was covered. But then we had additional expenses like basic home maintenance, gas cost driving to and from the base which was approximately 25 minutes away on a good weather day, electric, water, trash, phone, cable and internet. Those costs were in addition to other living costs such as daycare, grocery, insurance, car note and entertainment. We were drowning financially and we were both working full time! Then we moved to an overseas location and it's the same thing. We were so excited about finding a nice, unique home on the economy. We thought we were set with our OHA (overseas housing allowance), utilities, and COLA (cost of living allowance). But we must have chosen the wrong house!! With the dollar value always changing - sometimes our rent is $2200 after conversion and other times it's $2500 - but our OHA never changes to reflect the currency conversion. And our house runs off oil heating. So factor in over $2000 to stay warm in the frigid winters - another dead end scenario. On the flip side - living on base - sure they take away all the BAH you are entitled to - but it's worth it!! Trust me! How many places do you know that you can rent with maximum security, group inclusion, ability to walk to work, close amenities (especially if you have one vehicle), on base activities for adults and children, and more? To this day - my mother wishes she could live on base again (my father is retired). Any place you live you are going to have annoying neighbors! Make the most of base housing - and off base activities are only a short drive away!

Alexandria - posted on 11/12/2010

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My husband is stationed at Fort Campbell KY/TN. The on post housing is nice; most of it is new.

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Erica - posted on 02/17/2012

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Post housing is best for one car families or SAHM, because you have all your neighbors there for help, and if you need the car for the day easier for the hub to find a ride. I mean it has it's pros and cons it can be convient for different reasons. Some people do it for schooling, depending on your duty station the surrounding area school district may not be what you want for your kids. All and all off post has far more cons than pros, but we're dual military and I simply can't handle to drama and everyone up your butt. When you live on post the communities are so small everyone knows everyone and everything about each other. Also $ can be a huge factor again depending on where you are it may be difficult to find a home/apartment within your BAH and pays bills plus extra gas to commute, but again it's all variant on your family needs.

Lori - posted on 12/01/2010

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Not AF, but Army... We're at Ft Huachuca, been here 5 years. When we first got here the housing was old slump brick construction with lead paint... They started building new housing and we moved on post into a brand new house 20 months ago. The houses they built right after ours are really nice- tile floors, carpet in the bedrooms, spacious. That being said, I like my house. We do have the crappy Army vinyl tile, but other than that we like it. There have been a few minor issues with the house, but maintenance is just a call away, they even come out at night and on weekends if it is serious. We rented before we moved on post and let me tell you, we'd call the rental agency for months before we got anything fixed, we ended up having to move out because of mold in the rental house- which probably wouldn't have been as big of an issue as it was if they had responded to our complaints the first time we complained. All in all, we've had a decent time living on post. A friend of mine had a completely different experience, though. Living on post, you are subject to the military's standard of living. My friend called 911 for a gas leak- and the MP's ended up charging her with child neglect for having a dirty house. Civilian CPS cleared her and declared it unfounded, but the military found her guilty of child neglect. They fined her and she will always have a record on post. I'm not sure I will live on post again once we PCS, not if they can do that kind of crazy stuff!

Tabby - posted on 11/06/2010

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I live right across the river in Willoughby Bay run by Lincoln Military Housing (Navy). They are pretty nice but we want to move over to Norwich Manor (also run by Lincoln Military Housing) which are even nicer. They are kind of small but I like them. We have 2 big dogs so the fenced in backyard is great for us. We couldn't find a place that had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a fenced in backyard for what our rent is here (in housing your utilities are included in rent). I grew up in Melbourne, Florida which is where Patrick Air Force Base is. The base there is really nice and I'm pretty sure they redid the housing when I was in high school (about 3 years ago). The area where the base is also nice and you can get a house or apartment (off base) for a VERY reasonable price. Many people who worked on base lived in an area called Suntree or Viera. Those are the kind of areas that you can let your child walk to the park and play outside and not worry.

Sarah - posted on 11/06/2010

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HEY! we are at cannon afb and are possibly beign stationed at langley!!!! good to know about housing there... im curious also about other bases... here at cannon the housing isnt bad.... they arent NEW but arent horrible at all (except onbase housing) those are old and small but the base housing offbase is amazing :D we have lived on base moved off and learned that if you rent here to be very very careful because they spiked the rent just because they know how much military pays us for it. its very annoying. so we are now moving to off base military housing and are very excited.... and ready to find out about orders to langley or overseas!!!

Kathleen - posted on 11/04/2010

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My husband and I are stationed in San Diego,CA and live off base only cause on the type of breed of dog we have and cause of her weight it doesnt help much either. We have an 81 lb boxer but shes 100% muscle. I've only been married for 2 years and of those 2 years we've lived off base cause the houseing is cheaper and the BAH helps us pay bills, plus we get some fun money.

Kelley - posted on 10/18/2010

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Not all is like that. I've live on base at Keesler AFB and now Holloman AFB in both cases we've lived in new or newly refurbished housing. At Keesler ther was no way to afford a house as nice on our BAH alone. Here at Holloman the available housing in town is terrible, we lived in a shoebox duplex before getting a house on base.

Morgan - posted on 10/18/2010

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right now my husband and i are living off base b/c the list was extremely long to get on base housing and we were tired of living in different states ( he was here in anchorage, alaska...i was in altamonte springs, florida) so we got an apartment like 30 minutes away...however, as we get near the end of our lease my husband is going to resubmit or names for on base housing and they are going to try to get us a house on base as quickly as possible...i seriously cant wait to live on base though because our apartment is kind of on the small side and my 1 year old daughter is now walking...besides that i feel like it would be alot safer since i do have a small child

Kristin - posted on 09/24/2010

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I am a Marine wife and the base housing I lived in in Yuma, AZ was gorgeous......I also lived in NC and they had the old homes but they also had the new ones up that were a def improvement.....So Im guessing each branch and base may have different housing but from what Im hearing all the houses are getting an upgrade sooner or later! :)

Crystal - posted on 09/22/2010

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we have lived offpost and onpost at ft sill, ok right we live onpost and our house is ok except the carpet and the a/c doesnt work worth **** and its a 2 bedroom house since we only have one child we are at ft polk, la we would live offpost if it didnt cost so much and find a place that alouds dogs

Sarah - posted on 09/21/2010

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We live off base and we love it! I suggest before making a decision ask others in your area that live on and off your specific base what their opinions of housing are. Also what affordable housing off base is available in the area and then look up the BAH for the area to determine your budget. Hope that helps...

Mecca - posted on 09/21/2010

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i live on post at Sill and they are getting better here.. remodeling building new

Elizabeth - posted on 09/09/2010

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I'm at Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan and we opted to live off base. They offered us two apartments, on the top floor. One of them the foundation for the floor was cracking and slanted and they told us not to worry about it! WHAT! The floor could collapse. The other appartment just wasn't to our taste. The older housing here was build in the 50s and were re-done in the 80s. Now they are in the process of building new beautiful townhomes for families. So new housing is absolutley gorgeous and spacious. Old housing is disgusting. This is our 1st base too... so I can't weigh in on any other base.

Jennifer - posted on 09/09/2010

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It might be the worst for Air Force. Usually they have the best housing. We are Army and I am guessing what you are seeing is total standard for us. We are in Williamsburg, VA. We were told for this duty station we were not allowed to go on post. Something about this particular job. I am sure the next place will be much nicer.

Heather - posted on 09/08/2010

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This is our 3rd base. The first two bases the housing had been privatized (no longer owned by the goverment, but still rented to Military families) some was old and nasty, some was nice and new. At this base, they are going to start Privatizing next year, the rumor is the older housing will be refurbished when that happens, bu as of now, its old but better that the Army post we were at first.

Tressa - posted on 09/08/2010

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Hey my husband just got stationed here as well, were from fl . We live off base in this new subdivision that is being finished . Love our house. looking to meet new ppl..

Lindsey - posted on 08/19/2009

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We live on base. this is our second house on base. The first was right after we got married and only had a 2 bed. it was a nice house, nice neighbors. Then after our daughter was born, we moved across the road off of the main base an into the other section of housing into a 3bed. I HATE IT. I wish we had pushed to find a 3 bed on main base.
Hunely park is nice and the housing is updated more than main base, but the bugs are horrible. Its right on the Ashely River and there are oak trees galore so the palmetto bugs are awful. The set up of the house is bad.
We are int he process of finding a house to rent off base since we will be here for at least another year if not longer.

Katie - posted on 08/05/2009

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Hi! M y husband is a SeaBee in the Navy (been in for 4 yrs.) in Gulfport, Ms. At 1st we lived in base housing but we moved out to help a friend. Our house really wasn't bad but it did have a small yard & we have two labs. The only major complaints I had were no one really did any thing as far as maitenance goes & once we moved out they made us pay $350.00 b/c I forgot to move the fridge & clean behind it. Even though I scrubbed my house from top to bottum w/ bleach!!! The other thing was they tried to make us pay another $300.00 b/c our labs dug holes in the yard so we filled them w/ dirt & planted seeds. They sd. we should have layed sod... but they moved some one in right when we moved out & they (housing) never fixed the yard so I sd. no way was I paying them! Now the base does its own housing & doesn't have an outside company running it b/c they had too many problems. Other than those complaints it really wasnt too bad!

Cassidy - posted on 08/05/2009

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My husband is stationed at Columbus AFB in Columbus, Ms. We currently live off base, but are planning to move on base. It is a fairly small base, but they have the kind of houses that you are talking about, plus some that are newer. They are currently building some new ones and they look really nice. We are moving on base because it will be cheaper and he is only an e3, so were going to need the extra money when the baby comes.

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We live on base now, this is our first time every living on base. We are now stationed at Elmendorf AFB, in Alaska. The house I live in is falling apart as well, it is one of the ONLY old housing left on this base, it's a 4 bedroom. But cost of living is crazy here and we just can't beat the price of living on base (these houses are privatized)

Emily - posted on 08/04/2009

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I'm at Ft Lewis, WA, and while we live off base (decided we could save a little money from our BAH that way), I have several friends who live on base. The majority of the housing here is just fine - probably actually in better condition than many houses of the same age off post, but they are still going through and replacing some of the older housing (though not the historic buildings) with newer stuff. They have finished at least one whole neighborhood of brand-new, fancy-looking duplexes, as well as a number of brand new barracks all over base.

From what I understand, the army is in the process of turning over the majority of its housing functions to an outside contracted management company - Equity Residential, I think, which is making it a priority to replace some of the older housing. I don't know if this goes for any of the other branches, too, but there are renovations going on at army bases all over the country.

Kim - posted on 08/04/2009

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Our first housing in Groton, Ct while my husband was in A school for the Navy was beautiful. It was a four bedroom brand new townhouse. We were the absolute first family to ever live in it. It had 9 foot ceilings and I loved that house. I would have stayed there forever. We just moved to Kittery, Maine. The housing here is old and not so nice. We went from being in a very open spacious house to feeling like we are in a sardine can. We are only here for another year and then are supposed to go to Guam. I hear the housing in Guam is newer so I'm hoping its better than here.

Cassandra - posted on 08/01/2009

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Eh some are like that but like you said there are alot of renovations going on at alot of bases...

Sarah - posted on 07/31/2009

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hello! i am an airforce wife too we are at cannon AFB in clovis NM... i grew up here... there isnt anything to do but its a nice place.... as for houseing... on base is decent. we have a 3 bed 2 bath duplex with carports. they are working on rebuilding them... off base the houseses are nice too there are 3 housing areas around CAFB bigger with garages. not duplexes either. actual houses... but the hubby is only an A1C right now so we get onbase. possibly later on we will move to other offbase houseing.... i enjoy that they provide housing because it doesnt cut into our pockets to fix problems...

Adf0905 - posted on 07/31/2009

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We live on base. There is no way we could afford to live off base where we're stationed. We did live off base at our last duty station though. Where we live really depends on where we're stationed. We've been stationed in some of the most expensive parts of the country, so we've spent more time in on base housing than off!

[deleted account]

Hi there, it really isnt like that on every Air force base, we do get looked after a whole lot better than the army, so discount that coment hun. We just left England where there are 2 bases Mildenhall and Lakenheath, and very close too is Alconbury. We went to all 3 bases regularly and their base housing was beautiful. Lakenheath especially as it was having major building work done to it, but the majority of houses were complete and sooooo nice, my maid of honor lives in one and i was so jealous! Ha!
We've also bee to a couple of bases over here and they've been good too. I think you maybe just got a raw deal this time, and although it may take them a while to get everything sorted, the end result is usually really good. Patience! Ha!
But all in all, i prefer living off base, its more private and you arent stuck with all the military!!! Funny but it may be my husband's career but that doesn't mean i want to eat sleep breathe the Air Force. Lol.
Kate xoxox

Amie - posted on 07/30/2009

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i would advise moving off base, better homes and u get paid more to live off base!

Annette - posted on 07/30/2009

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We live off base but the Lemoore Naval Air Station has extremely nice housing, and little play areas for the kids and a nice pool open in the summer, so maybe theres a little hope for ya

Belinda - posted on 07/29/2009

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I have a friend who said that the Fire Island NY CG housing is incredible. I have seen a lot of army and navy housing, but this is my first time in it. We r in Key West and there weren't a lot of options. But it sucks and I have a "renovated" shoebox. Plus Balfour Beatty charges us over 2x's what they charge affiliated civilians to live here.

Amanda - posted on 06/20/2009

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I myself prefer to live off post, you get a little more privacy. My family is stationed at Ft. Carson, CO

Teyaka - posted on 06/20/2009

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I like living on base. The houses here are alright. I'm not thrilled about this thing called a swamp cooler that is suppose to cool my house. But I have dealt with it for 2 years now, so I know I'll live. The newer base housing has central air. I love my big back yard and how spacious my house is. Compared to what the houses and apartments look like off base, I come out pretty good staying within the gates. Living off base in Utah is expensive! A friend of mine was renting an apartment for almost $800 a month with only water included in the bill. Her apartment could fit in my house with room to spare. I was shocked that she was willing to pay that for a space so small. I think it just depends on the area you are in. But I love being on base. Everything is right there and I don't have to travel far.

Tammika - posted on 06/20/2009

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Well my husband is in the army and we are stationed at Ft richardson Alaska. We decided to live on post and I like the houses here even though it's one of the older houses. They have built quite a few new ones here and still building. The houses on the joint AFB Elmendorf have been recently built also. I love being on post because everything I need is right here. I think its the sense of security also. The down fall is having to go by all the rules in these government houses. But you have rules any where you go whether on post or off post.

Tamara - posted on 06/19/2009

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For families the bases in Florida are great. Texas is a great state for families as well. All base housing is not as bad as Langley. One way to get orders is for your husband to sign up for a unaccompanied tour to Korea. It's a year apart from each other but you get to pick your follow on base. Also the bases in the midwest are a good choice for families. I hope this helps. Air Force bases tend to have the better housing. I've heard how bad the housing is from friends at your base. I've been an AF wife for 6 years and I was enlisted myself. Good luck I know from experience that it's hard to get out of base.

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We live in on base housing at the Seaplane Base on Whidbey Island Washington. We usually live off base but this is our last duty station. Hubby retires in three years which will put him at 30 total. He is deployed for a year so I chose to be on base. We have a daughter that is stationed in Bahrain and a son that will be a senior next year. I like being close to everything I need and feeling secure living on base!

Sarah - posted on 06/17/2009

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I can only speak for Tinker AFB, but it does not seem bad at all, well for officers anyway. I am not sure about the enlisted housing. I do know that Tinker is building a lot of new base housing that seems really nice. the area around base is not too bad. the base is only 10 minutes from downtown OKC and 15 -20 mins from Oklahoma University. Also there are plenty of nice homes in the area if you choose to live off base.

Stacy - posted on 06/17/2009

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Wright-Pat AFB is a nice base, but it is spread out and has three different bases :( A little inconvinent but it is really nice and we enjoy it. The base housing is being torn down but we have what is called base privitized houseing that only military can rent and it is pretty nice. But the downfall, like any "base" housing is: when you get a pay raise your rent goes up and the house stays the same. But we enjoyed living in base privitized houseing.

Sabrina - posted on 06/17/2009

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I know here in Canada EVERY base is different the the quality of housing that you are given...it must be nice to not pay utilities lol. We pay it all here. We have lived on bases that had GREAT housing, and the one we are currently on in Alberta is horrible. We have to pay $900/month for the rent plus $150 for heat and another $150 for lights, plus all the phone and cable bills. We have walls that have started to fall down and we have a toilet that likes to leak above your front dooor. We are in a 2 story 3 bed, 1.5 bath duplex and its a good size, but they take forever to do any repairs. 4 years ago my Hubby was deplyed to ALERT and my front door was rotten. I called housing about it and they sent someone to look at it, My Hubby was gone for 6 months and when he got back the door still wasnt repaired! I finally got pi$$ed off and called and threatened housing lol. I told them that if I didnt have a new door in the next 21 days I was going to go to the Base Commanders house and have a coffee with his lovely wife. I wouldnt recoment going the way I did lol. Hubby came home from work mad cause his Sgt. had told him to keep me away from the BC's wife lol. Its just a good thing that his Sgt was a family friend (my Dad has know him for almost 30 years). My Hubby didnt get into any trouble but 10 days after that phone call I had a new front door,



Also we have done 90% of the house repairs ourselves. We are sick of housing putting everything off. I have learned how to do plumbing and tile repair work lol. Every tap in this house has been replaced by me and I had mold in the tub area so I took out the tiles that were ruined and replaced them, re-grouted and sealed them all.



Growing up in military housing I always knew that you had to know how to be self sufficient, but it has gotten really bad over the years.

Christal - posted on 06/17/2009

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together my husband and myself have been stationed at FT. Meade, MD. and Norfolk, VA. (navy) we have always lived off base. Living on base they take all your housing allowance. when you live off base you still get that allowance and you can most likely find a more decent place to live for cheaper, and even after paying utilites and such you find your self with a few extra dollar in your pocket to use for other things.

I would however reccomend living on base if you dont like to comute, and if you dont make enough money to live off base.

Erin - posted on 06/12/2009

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My husband is also in the air force and I think that most bases are going privatized. When we were stationed in Biloxi, Ms we had terrible housing, but they ended up tearing it down. Now we are in Warner Robins, Ga and the only housing they have here is privatized. It is run by a contracting company. The houses are nice, but I think I actually prefer the way the military housing was ran better than the contracting company is running things here. Im not saying that other bases that have gone privatized are as bad as the ones here, hopefully, they aren't because we had enough with the company and bought a house since we will be stationed here for a few more years.

Jamie - posted on 06/12/2009

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We are getting ready to move to Ft. Drum and the housing looks wonderful but the wait list for a 3 bedroom is insane!!! We decided to go off post when we get there and if something opens up then move on post.

Donna - posted on 06/12/2009

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You just have to see when you get to new base, you can go on their web sites most of the time when you have orders and check out housing.. you really cant pick your duty station as to what the housing looks like.. some thimes housing does not maybe look the best but a couple things to remember.. usually lower cost,you dont pay utilities.. you dont have to worry about paying rent as it is automatically taken out.. you dont have to worry about taking care of repairs etc..other military spouses there that will understand your lifestyle better..other children that you can get your child together with for play dates.. there is a long list of reasons to live on base.. my husband has been in the military for 29 years.. we have most of the time lived in military housing when there was housing available... dont necessarily go by the looks of the housing.. it is what is inside that matters...

Leigh - posted on 06/08/2009

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We've been stationed twice in Brunswick Maine(currently),96-99 and 07-09,I must say the first housing units we were in were "HORRIBLE", but typical of Navy housing. At that time it was still ran by the Navy. This time we are here, the housing has been privatized, and the units we are in now aren't much better! THe only advantage to being in housing with the "navy" running the place, or a "privatized", company ( balfour beatty) is whenever you need something fixed or replaced,etc..The privatized housingtakes care of it right away! When the Navy ran it, it could be weeks before they got to your request! We have also lived in Jax, Fl and my friends lived in housing there, and it also was old, run down and small! good luck!

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We were stationed at Eglin AFB in Florida recently. We lived off base, but the on base housing looked nice (from the outside, anyway). The area is really great, we loved it there! There's lots of things to do in the surrounding towns.

Corinne - posted on 06/07/2009

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not sure about every base housing but i dont personally enjoy it! my husband and i were stationed in belgium for 3 years and didnt have any choice but to live on "base housing" and i hated it! with all the rules and being around military ALL the time REALLY got old! once we moved to the duty station we are at now, we bought a house! why not take advantage of the BAH!!?? the only nice thing i miss about housing was (obviously) not having the bills and being able to call and get someone to come over and repair anything i needed! thats about were the positives end in my book! :)

Kathleen - posted on 06/07/2009

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It depends on where it is. They are in the middle of tearing down and rebuilding housing all over the military. Unfortunatly everything has to go through some sort of chain of command which is why it takes so long....

I've leaved at Misawa, AB Japan. On base housing was good the only differences are saw off base is larger housing and A/C off base. We aren't allowed A/C on base. We are now at Scott and the housing is privatized but still decent houses. They are building new houses as well as been renovating some. So it just depends on where you are located at the time....Just gotta pick and choose weather you want to live on base. It is cheaper to live on base than off, but....some bases have better housing so it's not so bad. We have a decent 3.5 bdr, 2 bath townhouse like house. we live in a 2 unit house. So we have one neighbor next to us. Some houses here are larger though.



Hope this rambling helped a lil. It just depends on where you are.

Jeannine - posted on 06/07/2009

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I have been an Army Wife for 19 years. We have been to many bases. YES most housing is like that! We are currently at Ft. Bliss (El Paso TX). The housing we had was built in the 50's and was full of lead paint and asbestos. They are also in the process of updating the houses here. I must say they have done an fabulous job of it. Some of the new house are two story. That is the housing for the E-1 to E-6!

I still prefer to live off base. It is cheaper in the long run! Holloman Air Force Base in NM is really nice. Brand new houses, very clean place. Just depends what your husband does.

With the "new" military you might not be going anywhere soon. We have been at Ft. Bliss for 10 years. Our only way out is my husband is retiring next year!

Hope that helps.

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