Capodichino sailors scrambling to find local housing options
June 18, 2009
NAPLES, Italy — Most of the sailors required to vacate their barracks on the Navy base at Capodichino have found houses on the economy, while others are headed to hotels as they continue to search for a new home.
In April, Navy officials announced they would close the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters 1 building on June 30, some three months earlier than anticipated. Navy leaders pushed up the closure date because of budget shortfalls, spokesman Cmdr. Jeff McAtee said. The building is being closed as part of the Navy’s effort to reduce excess housing throughout Navy bases in Europe.
"[Naval Support Activity] Naples is doing everything it can to reduce costs this fiscal year to help offset a shortfall in our utilities funding," he said.
Officially, bachelor housing is intended only for junior servicemembers E-3 or below. However, Naples officials had allowed some higher-ranking members — either single sailors or those serving in Naples without any dependents — to live in the barracks.
The base was going to let E-4s with fewer than four years’ service remain in base barracks, but leaders reversed the plan, and the number of sailors needing economy homes jumped from 80 to 110, McAtee said.
As of Tuesday, 39 of the displaced sailors had found off-base homes, while another 49 were finalizing housing negotiations, said Israel Melendez, the housing office interim director.
Housing officials found several landlords willing to provide furnished homes for the servicemembers. Sailors who need furniture and appliances can get loaners from the base, a bachelor-housing official said.
Additionally, base officials have made arrangements with several hotels willing to sign short-term leases while sailors continue to search for off-base housing, Melendez said. Some hotels even offered free shuttle transportation to and from the bases.
Some sailors have expressed difficulty getting out to see vacant homes because they don’t have vehicles, a hardship for some of the lower-ranking sailors who don’t have much disposable income, the bachelor-housing official said.
Finding homes in Naples became more difficult in November after Navy officials put several areas temporarily off-limits to new rentals because water tests turned up the presence of contaminants in those regions. The three zones include the towns of Villa Literno, Casal di Principe, Marcianise and Arzano.
Rumors that the Navy lifted the so-called "New Lease Suspension Zone" policy for the barracks sailors are false, Melendez said.