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A construction worker moves cinder blocks Thursday morning outside one of three high-rises at Hannam Village that are under renovation. The project is expected to be completed by early summer 2010 and add 264 housing units, easing a shortage of U.S. military housing in Seoul.

A construction worker moves cinder blocks Thursday morning outside one of three high-rises at Hannam Village that are under renovation. The project is expected to be completed by early summer 2010 and add 264 housing units, easing a shortage of U.S. military housing in Seoul. (Ashley Rowland / S&S)

A construction worker moves cinder blocks Thursday morning outside one of three high-rises at Hannam Village that are under renovation. The project is expected to be completed by early summer 2010 and add 264 housing units, easing a shortage of U.S. military housing in Seoul.

A construction worker moves cinder blocks Thursday morning outside one of three high-rises at Hannam Village that are under renovation. The project is expected to be completed by early summer 2010 and add 264 housing units, easing a shortage of U.S. military housing in Seoul. (Ashley Rowland / S&S)

A construction worker moves building material outside one of three high-rises at Hannam Village that are under renovation. The project is expected to be completed by early summer 2010 and add 264 housing units, easing a shortage of U.S. military housing in Seoul.

A construction worker moves building material outside one of three high-rises at Hannam Village that are under renovation. The project is expected to be completed by early summer 2010 and add 264 housing units, easing a shortage of U.S. military housing in Seoul. (Ashley Rowland / S&S)

SEOUL — Servicemembers moving to Seoul with their families could face longer waits for on-post housing or be forced to get more expensive off-post housing, as more troops move to South Korea under a new tour normalization policy.

About half of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea eventually will be allowed to bring their families with them under the policy, which was announced in December.

The number of command-sponsored troops is expected to double to 4,300 by the end of fiscal year 2010, with the first large wave coming this summer.

Families now have to wait an average of 10 days for on-post housing, and 30 days for four- and five-bedroom units, U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan spokesman Dave McNally said.

He said he didn’t know how long wait times would increase.

"The people will still have housing. It just won’t be on post," McNally said.

U.S. Forces Korea spends up to twice as much to house a soldier with dependents off post.

In a June 16 "Commander’s Corner" message posted on Yongsan’s Web site, garrison commander Col. Dave Hall wrote that tour normalization would bring more classrooms, parking and housing improvements.

"The flip side of this means parking challenges, additional traffic congestion, and guaranteed ‘wait-time’ for on-post housing," he said.

Yongsan’s 554 housing units are 97 percent occupied, with the remaining units unoccupied due to turnover. Hannam Village’s 248 units are 100 percent occupied.

Most on-post housing at Yongsan is for senior military leaders.

Because U.S. troops in Seoul and to the north of the city are to be relocated to the Pyeongtaek area south of the capital in the coming decade, there are no plans to build more housing units at Yongsan, although some existing structures are being renovated.

McNally said the renovation of three apartment towers at the gated Hannam Village community will add 264 housing units and ease the demand for military housing.

The renovation is scheduled to be completed early next summer.

The garrison abandoned the three buildings in August 2006 because they did not meet Army housing standards.

Before a command-sponsored servicemember comes to South Korea, McNally said, the housing office decides whether there is enough housing available for their families to travel with them. If the wait for family quarters exceeds 61 days, the family travels after the sponsor arrives in South Korea.

U.S. Forces Korea said earlier this month that some children of non-command-sponsored troops might not be able to attend Department of Defense schools in Seoul next year due to a lack of space.

Housing costs for U.S. troops in S. Korea

Average annual cost for a servicemember to live in a two- or three-bedroom unit at Yongsan, including utilities and regular maintenance: $21,000-$23,000Average annual cost for a servicemember to live at Hannam Village, including utilities and regular maintenance: $23,000Overseas Housing Allowance (for troops authorized to live off post, with dependents):

E-1 through E-9, and O-1: 3,143,400 won per month, or about $29,353 per year

W-1 through W-4, O-1E through O-3E, and O-2 through O-4: 3,525,320 won per month, about $32,919 per year.

W-5, O-5 through O-6: 3,907,240 won per month, about $36,486 per year.

Utilities: 740,498 won per month, about $6,915 per year.

Sources: Yongsan public affairs; Yongsan housing office

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