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Newcomer Information - Housing

(Below are questions that previous incoming interns had concerning their move to Ha-wai'i and the Graduate Medical Office response to these questions. Please review the following to see if your question has been answered before.)

General information

If you are considering military housing here's the Army Hawaii Family Housing (AHFH) website. Single officers recently became eligible for military housing (town homes) at Tripler. Accompanied residents are eligible for quarters at the following locations: Tripler, Ft. Shafter, Aliamanu Military Reservation, and Red Hill. Of course, quarters at any specific location are subject to availability. To read about any of these communities go to the AHFH website and click on the Become a Resident link near the top of the page, then click the [Map] link next to South Regional Office and then click the link to the housing community you want to read about on the next webpage. Please be advised that the AHFH Office no longer provides loaner furniture and appliances for soldiers off post. The program was stopped in 2004. Loaner furniture is still available for on post housing until your household goods arrive. Units usually come with appliances (ranges, refrigerator, and dishwasher), and some units include washers and driers. Newer units have central air but some older units don't. I was told that you can purchase window air conditioners and have them installed free of charge. But you have to remove them upon termination of your government lease. If you choose to live in military housing you will not receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) because that is the rent you will pay.

The telephone number to the South Regional Office is (808) 275-3800 if you want to ask questions before you arrive. We understand that other military housing areas (Navy, Air Force, Marine) may be opening up to Army families so we will endeavor to find out additional information.

See some photos and take the virtual tour. Click on the Photos and Virtual Tour links. The information sheet link didn't work for me but here's what we found out after visiting an open house last year. The unit we saw was single-level, two bedroom, one bath, and 963 square feet with stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer. You can get loan-er furniture too. No microwave or air conditioning but if you buy window air conditioning units the housing office will get it installed for you. There also was a covered and screened porch (lanai). I thought the closet and storage place was most adequate.

Off-Post Housing Information: For residents who wish to live off-post you may be able to find potential rentals via the Web site. You should be able to select any of the drop down menus for any of the Armed Services that are shown. You are not limited to the Army (Ft. Shafter and Schofield Barracks) link. You will need to register to use the site. The Hawaii listings for the Navy will be under Pearl Harbor, for the Marines select Kaneohe Bay, for the Air Force select Hickam AFB, and for the Coast Guard look at Sand Island. I haven't taken the time to see if the same listings are repeated under each site but don't be surprised if they are.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
I am trying to buy a house in Hawaii and am working with a mortgage person out there. I am wondering if you could tell me how I go about getting a letter of employment with an itemized list of my pay (BAH, COLA, etc.). I need to fax this to my mortgage broker before I can get a pre-approval letter for a VA loan. Please let me know how to go about getting this.

Response:
I will be glad to provide a generic letter addressed "To Whom It May Concern" and can scan and email a .PDF file to you.


Question:
Do you recommend that we find an apartment/condo/house to live before our report date, or is the free time we have that month generally used to look for permanent housing?

Response:
The majority of interns use the free time that they have in June to look for permanent housing. If you come before your report date, it is entirely at your expense with the exception of airfare. You are no longer entitled to TLA once you find a home. And your BAH doesn't start until your report date.

Question:
Could you give me the Web sites where I might find housing information for military personnel?

Response:
Check the Army Hawaii Family Housing Web site for on-post housing. Note: You must be accompanied by your family member(s) to live in military housing.

For unaccompanied personnel and those accompanied personnel who wish to live off-post you may be able to find potential rentals via the DoD Referral Web site.

You should be able to select any of the drop down menus for any of the Armed Services that are shown. You are not limited to Ft. Shafter or the Army. You will need to register to use the site.

I was told that on-post housing should be available for accompanied interns who wish to live on post. Accompanied interns are eligible for quarters at the following locations: Tripler, Ft. Shafter, and Aliamanu Military Reservation. Of course, quarters at any specific location are subject to availability. To read about any of these communities go to the AHFH website and click on "Our Communities" on the left side of the page and then click "Communities" on the drop-down menu that appears immediately underneath. You should then see links to the various housing communities on island on the right side of the page.

Unaccompanied individuals will live off-post. During centralized in-processing, you will be given a temporary lodging allowance (TLA) packet containing a certificate of non-availability (CNA) to start Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and a 10-day TLA authorization. In addition, you will be provided a list of available rental units in various parts of the island. Note: Unaccompanied individuals must ensure they make an appointment with the Unaccompanied Housing Section, (808) 655-0535, to take care of paperwork to extend TLA or to finalize TLA paperwork once permanent housing has been found, fax (808) 655-0677. The Unaccompanied Housing Section is located in Building 692, Schofield Barracks. This is a mandatory requirement.

Please be advised that the Army Family Housing Office no longer provides loaner furniture and appliances for soldiers off post. The program was stopped in 2004. Loaner furniture and appliances are still available for on post housing.


Question:
If I already have a place that I may possibly rent starting June 1st will I need temporary lodging?

Response:
You won't need temporary lodging as long as you are able to occupy the residence on 1 June.


Question:
I am not sure that I asked the question correctly. If I fill out the housing questionnaire stating that I will be accompanied but choose to live off post, is there a chance that I will be offered on post housing (because you said that on post housing will be available) and lose my TLA while I am looking for off post housing?

Response:
Yes, you will still lose the TLA. Your preference to live off post doesn't matter. You will still be offered on-post housing if it is available and your TLA will be terminated when you indicate you that you do not wish to live on post.


Question:
If we indicate on the questionnaire that we plan to live on post, are we obligated to do so even if there are no quarters available which we wish to accept?

Response:
No, you are not obligated to accept the quarters. From the AHFH website: "After touring the home, the family has the option of accepting or rejecting it. If they reject it, they will be moved to the bottom of the waiting list. Each family has up to 24 hours to accept or reject homes."


Question:
Am I correct in assuming that if we initially accept quarters, there is no obligation to stay in those quarters for any minimum amount of time?

Response:
No, you are obligated for at least six months. From the AHFH website: "After a Soldier has selected a home, they sign a Resident Occupancy Agreement (ROA) or a six month lease which becomes month-to-month following the original six month period. The ROA has been thoroughly reviewed and approved by Department of the Army lawyers and the local Staff Judge Advocate's Office. The ROA triggers an allotment (rent) to AHFH equal to the Soldier's BAH at the current Hawai'i with dependent rate. If the family is dual military, the rent will equal the higher ranking Soldier's BAH with dependent rate."


Question:
Similarly, if we accept and then subsequently vacate quarters, then I assume the likelihood of returning to on-post housing – if we wanted to – would be extremely low.

Response:
It would depend on availability. You would also have to fulfill your lease obligation for your off-post residence. Also, if you decide to vacate on-post housing and move off post it would be at your own expense. Returning would also be at your expense.


Question:
Many apartments in Hawai'i are furnished. My question is that I would rather not ship all of my furniture to Hawai'i to just have it placed in storage. Do you only get one household good (HHG) shipment or is it by total weight? Is it possible to have shipment take place after I am in Hawai'i and have found housing so I know what furnishings are necessary? If I have to ship everything, does the military reimburse for storage on the island?


Response:
It is always best to talk directly with a counselor at your supporting Transportation Office regarding your specific situation. I believe that you are limited to one shipment from your residence at Government expense but you need to verify this. I believe you can have a separate shipment from a temporary storage facility if you are currently renting one. Again, this is subject to verification. You may or may not be allowed to place items in permanent (non-temporary) storage. It depends what is more cost effective for the Government. I believe that you have to designate what you want stored ahead of time and don't believe that you can have it shipped to you at a later date. If you find out differently, please let us know. The military does not reimburse you for local storage if you are required to ship all of your personal property from the mainland. The Navy Web site and the Air Force Web site provide helpful hints and links that may answer many of your transportation questions.

I didn't find an Army website that was particularly helpful. However, I did find the two links above on an Army webpage. But that doesn't really matter since the Joint Federal Travel Regulations govern transportation and travel for all of the Services. If you want to read up on your entitlements yourself. However, it is a bit cumbersome to wade through.

Here is what is posted on the Air Force website regarding permanent storage:

Non-Temporary Storage (NTS) – Long-term household good storage in lieu of transportation. Also referred to as extended storage or permanent storage. The total HHG weight transported plus the weight of the HHG in NTS at Government ex-pense on the same PCS order should not exceed the members prescribed weight al-lowance. It's very important that you understand that property placed in non-temporary storage is chargeable against your total permanent change of station (PCS) weight al-lowance.

If you opt to make a HHG shipment in addition to NTS on the same orders and you exceed your weight allowance, the Government may pay the costs associated with storing the excess weight if requested to do so by the member. The member is financially responsible to reimburse the Government for excess weight storage costs.

Note: Secure, and don’t store small, extremely valuable items such as stocks, bonds, jewelry, coins, coin collections, passports, birth certificates, airline tick-ets, and items of great sentimental value such as photo albums. Pack them in your suitcases and hand carry them, as well as your purchase receipts, pictures, personal property videotape, and appraisals. See "Moving Tips" for additional helpful informa-tion.

NTS is authorized incident to provisions in JFTR Vol. 1, paragraph U5380.

Permanent or NTS is generally authorized for those members making a permanent change of duty station from the CONUS to an overseas area. Personnel falling into this category can store all or part of the personal property, within the pre-scribed weight allowances.

Permanent storage is commonly used to store personal property pending shipment overseas. This occurs when there is a shortage of housing suitable for de-pendents in the overseas area. Once the restriction is lifted, all or a portion of the prop-erty may be released and shipped to the new duty station. Request for release of prop-erty must be in writing, accompanied by the authorization for shipment, i.e. dependent entry approval, dependent travel orders, or amendments for concurrent travel.

Authorized in connection with occupancy of on base housing when as-signed quarters will not accommodate all items of furniture. This provision is subject to specific approval of the local Housing Office.


Question:
Where is the non-temporary storage stored?

Response:
NTS will be in a approved commercial or government storage facility, whichever is nearest to the place where the household goods are located on the date of issuance of your PCS orders. The TMO or representative will determine which facility is more economical to the government.




This page is maintained by the Department of Family Medicine, ATTN: MCHK-FM, Tripler Army Medical Center, 1 Jarrett White Road, Honolulu, Hawai'i 96859-5000. Phone: (808) 433-6174.