In order to have a sense of community we need to consolidate leased housing. We are asking families living in leased housing if they want to move between now and the middle of March.
Right now these families have their pick of which Askren unit they want to live in. And by the way, we will move you and pay you DLA (dislocation allowance). So pick a time, pick a place and we will bring you on.
This provides our community a unique opportunity to rebuild and sustain a sense of togetherness during the next year. We must work together aggressively between now and summer time. For those who will be here through the summer of 2014 it is a chance to be near others who are on the same timeline and allows you easy access to all the agencies and programs that are offered on-post. Not to mention you will be nearer to things that the Germans offer.
Currently, there are about 550 total leased housing units scattered throughout Schweinfurt and the surrounding areas. In order to take care of both the people and to ensure funding is spent on services to maintain quality of life, we need to bring about 250 of those units offline by next year.
I recognize that there are some people that don’t want to move. They like exactly where they are and we will work with them as much as we can, but we want them to keep in mind that about half of the units will need to come offline.
Even after we consolidate leased housing onto Askren with those who want to live on-post and those who will be here until closure, we will still have homes left over. At that point we hope to open it up to private rental folks who want to be closer to the community. We especially want to bring in those families that live 45 minutes out who, though they may love the town they are in, feel like it is just too far.
I was asked, “Doesn’t it cost money to move somebody on post?” And I said sure, but in the long run it saves that person time and money and us as well. In some cases, leased housing units that can fit up to 10 families are only now occupied by two families. Yet we’re footing the bill for the entire unit on 10 homes. Closing down a leased housing unit is an easy way to save the Army money. The cost-benefit analysis is in favor of moving families to rebuild a strong community.
Coming off of private rental will remain an individual’s choice. My intent is not to force anybody to come off of leased housing either. I want to make it a workable and agreeable transition based on their time line, but I think realistically we are going to have to move people by July—and no later than August, which is the start of the Schweinfurt school year.
Families in deployed situations, we have made a commitment to you and you can stay where you are. We know that deployments are difficult and we are not going to ask more of you and we will just deal with the cost. But I want you to know that if you want to move we will help. If you want to set up your move for a more convenient time we are willing to work with you. Bottom line: Don’t worry!
And I want to be very clear about one thing. We will NOT ask Soldiers and families assigned to the 1-91 CAV—who are returning from Afghanistan and will enter the reintegration—to move from leased housing onto Askren. Nor will we ask families or Soldiers currently deployed with the 72nd ESB or who are scheduled for deployment.
Another question I was recently asked was, “Are officers also being given the option to move on post?” The answer to that one is yes. We already have some officers that live on post, mostly company grade, that live in the stairwells. These officers saw moving onto post as an opportunity to be closer to the community and readily available for their Soldiers.
In the end our goal is to bring anyone who wants to be closer onto post because we think the quality of life in the community will be stronger.
Let me know your thoughts and how we can make transitioning and consolidating our homes a win-win for everyone.