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I recently had the privilege of meeting with the leadership of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, at their new Fort Knox headquarters. Col. Christopher Toner and his team want to do all they can to help their soldiers and families settle in to our region and we wanted to be sure they knew our region was here to make this job easier. I expressed the great affection our communities have for soldiers and their families and how appreciative we all are for their brave service.
While we’ve talked a great deal about the Human Resource Center of Excellence and how exciting it will be to have those employees and their families call our region home, a good number of “go to war” military units are already here. In fact, since BRAC was announced in 2005, more than 2,000 soldiers and their families have arrived and many more will be coming over the next several months. All will need a place to live, and with a finite number of on-post housing units, we all know that a large numbers of these soldiers will be searching for housing in the community.
Many of these are new soldiers and their Basic Allowance for Housing, ranges from the mid $800s to just under $1,000. This money must cover rent or mortgage, plus insurance and utilities.
Additionally, some of these soldiers have three or more children. Finding housing, either to rent or purchase, with three to five bedrooms can be a challenge anywhere. That means our soldiers and their families will need our help finding homes. We know our region’s realtors and property managers are actively doing just that, but there may be more we can do when it comes to rental properties.
While some soldiers use online and traditional sources to find housing, many rely on the Fort Knox Housing Referral Office to assist them. Here, they can use the Automated Housing Referral Network to locate nearby rental units. Unfortunately, there are not enough listings for the Fort Knox region to meet the demand. We believe this is, in part, because many local landlords, especially those who own one rental property, are unaware of how to list their properties on the AHRN site.
So if you have properties to rent, please visit www.ahrn.com to register and list them. And if you know someone who has rental property, please urge them to do the same. We tested it ourselves. It’s a simple process to set up an account and input your rental property information and it’s something we need to do quickly if we’re going to help these soldiers. Plus, it’s a good way to get some great new neighbors.
In addition to those looking for rental properties, some soldiers and their families, particularly those with several moves behind them, will be looking to purchase a home in our region. While some will be able to afford homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 (and up) range, most will be looking for homes priced $120,000 to $150,000.
In many cases, soldiers with little or no experience dealing with real estate will be searching for homes in our communities.
While the Housing Referral Office can provide advice and assistance to soldiers during this process, many will still need our help to find what they need.
It’s our privilege, as a welcoming community, to help soldiers and their families enjoy a carefree and enjoyable transition to the heartland.
I’ve no doubt we’ll do the best possible job to help them.