HRO makes house hunting easier

by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The process of finding a home in an overseas location can generate feelings of confusion, frustration and, at times, anguish.

The already tough process of finding off base housing for average families gets more difficult as the size of the family gets larger. For an E-5 or E-6 with three or more children, it can seem almost impossible to find a home.

Service members are not on their own. The KMC housing office is here to help.
The mission of the KMC housing office is to provide adequate and safe housing to all military and Department of Defense personnel.

There are 17 agents who work diligently to locate and list new housing assets for the KMC. Prior to listing, the staff inspects every house for suitability.

They assist with rental negotiations to keep rent affordable and help off-base residents with landlord/tenant issues.

“Our agents assist more than 11,000 service members living off base in the KMC,” said Karen Leonard, KMC housing director.

Seeing a specialized need for large families, the KMC housing office developed a two-man team, the  Housing Referral Office, in February to work with families struggling to find adequate housing.

“There has always been a need for a service like this,” Leonard said. “It is more difficult for an E-5 or an E-6 with four or five children to find affordable housing.”

However, more than 100 families have found a home since the program began.
“Most of our families are satisfied with the homes,” said Mark Markarian, KMC Housing Referral officer. “We have always been able to find them a home.”

The housing office only works off of the Automated Housing Referral Network list. They work with families and help them to figure out exactly what type of home they need.

“Service members need to understand that the homes in Germany are not like American homes. They aren’t as spacious as some American homes,” Markarian said. “Sometimes service members will have to rent homes less spacious than what they are accustomed to.”

Recently, the HRO’s expertise opened up for all service members seeking off base housing in the KMC.

“Though the service was specifically geared toward families with a special need, we also found there was a need for all service members,” Leonard said.

Leonard and her team found it wasn’t just families with a special need, it was small families with pets and Airmen looking to move out of the dorm.

“We help them to make educated decisions when renting homes or apartments,” Markarian said.

Finding a home in Germany does not have to generate any unwanted feelings. Service members should seek help from the HRO if they have difficulty finding a home.

Service members interested in taking advantage of this service should contact the Housing Referral Office at 489-7108 or 0631-536-7108.