With barracks closing, 80 troops need a home
April 13, 2009
NAPLES, Italy — About 80 junior troops are now house-hunting after being told their barracks building on Capodichino is slated to close at the end of September.
The closure is part of a region-wide attempt to reduce what officials call "excess housing inventory" throughout Navy bases in Europe.
"Bachelor housing is only funded for the official requirement, E3 and below," said Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe. "Allowing E4 and above to relocate to economy housing will enable us to focus our [bachelor quarters] resources on those individuals for which it is intended and thereby provide a better standard of living for our most junior military members."
In order to boost occupancy rates in government housing, the base recently began to enforce a mandatory assignments policy for military families arriving in Naples. The closure of the building, BEQ (bachelor-enlisted quarters) 1, will also reduce the vacancy rate in bachelor housing.
The occupancy rate in the newer barracks building on Capodichino is at 92 percent. The barracks on the support site in Gricignano, though, are only 79 percent full. The target occupancy rate for government housing is 99 percent.
Officials say they have not determined what BEQ 1 will be used for.
About 110 of the most junior troops will move either to the newer BEQ building on Capodichino, or the BEQ building on the support site. Base officials said they will allow E4s with less than four years of service to continue living in the barracks.
The 80 who must move out of government housing are E4s with four years of service or more, as well as E5s.
For these troops, the move could prove difficult.
"I came off leave in early March and was told I had to move," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Valley. "Now I have to buy a car and insurance. I definitely didn’t see that coming."
Troops moving to economy housing are eligible to receive home furnishings through the Single Sailor Loaner Furniture program, but the move itself could prove difficult. Valley said he has about a thousand pounds of personal property, including a large television, books, clothing, electronics and items he’s purchased since arriving in August.
"I have to find someone with a truck or an SUV to help. I have to do this move by myself, and I have to do the house hunting on my own time," Valley said.
Housing officials said they are looking for ways to help those servicemembers moving to economy homes, but for now no official personal property moving assistance is authorized, according to Lt. Paul Macapagal, base spokesman for Naval Support Activity Naples.
"It’s unfortunate this is happening, but NSA Naples is trying to assist all those affected servicemembers in the relocation," Macapagal said.