When I first got married 13 years ago, I was really enamored with the opportunity to finally get out of the barracks and start living in off-post housing. However, my military spouse had different ideas. She had been previously been married to a GI and was really in love with living in on-base housings. And, as the saying goes, “happy wife, happy life”. And let’s face it, on-post housing is a benefit that most military spouses absolutely love!
On most bases and posts you have everything that you’ll need right in your neighborhood. Let’s face it, there are some big military installations out there but everything is really “right around the corner”. By living in on-post housing you get easy access to the medical facilities, schools (if they are on base), commissary, PX, Class 6, and the countless other services that military bases have on them. Oh, and besides that you’ll also get the calming feeling of having your spouse, home and kids very close by when they are at work.
The problem with some military housing is that, depending on the base or post that you’re stationed at, the waiting list for housing can be long. Most posts offer a TLF (Temporary Lodging Facility) but sometimes the amount of time you’re allowed to stay in TLF’s does not match the amount of time you’ll need to wait for an on-post home. In that case you may need to seek temporary housing off base. However, if you do this with the intention of moving on base when you’re number comes up for housing always make sure that the lease you sign off-post always has a military clause that allows you to move out when housing on base becomes available.
And there are always negatives to living on-base, as well. Regulations can be a pain in the butt. How your yard looks, when it should be mowed, what you’re allowed to have in your yard, nosey neighbors and having to come through the gate after a cocktail or two are always things to think about.
You’ll have more fluidity in choosing the style, size and location of your living quarters. While on-post housing size and quality is often decided on by rank, such is not the case off-post. You can live wherever you can afford. Again, though, just make sure that your off-post military housing has a lease that has a military clause in it!
After having lived on-post for a number of years now and having many friends who have lived off-post (especially in the recruiting world where military installations are not always available) I have decided that the security and safety of living on-post far outweighs the “freedom” of living off post. And, PCS is far easier, too!
Off-post housing does have other things that go against it, in my opinion, as well. In inclement weather military members will still have to drive to work unless the unit allows them not to come in that day. (There is no calling in!).