When military families are ordered to a new base, they have to decide whether to live on base or off base in a home of their choosing.
Some families love living on base, while others prefer the flexibility of being able to choose their home. While there are some disadvantages to living on base (fewer choices and long waiting lists), there are also many perks.
1. Moving is Easy, and Maintenance is Free
The physical move is hard, but getting into your new home is pretty easy. As long as you don’t have to deal with a long waiting list, it’s usually just a matter of signing on the dotted line and collecting your keys.
When you live on base, you don’t have to go through the hassle of looking at hundreds of rental properties or coming up with a deposit. Most of the time, you don’t have to worry about pet deposits either.
There are fewer bills to worry about – say good-bye to rent, water, sewer and trash. Maintenance is free, too. If you need pipe cleaning, your dishwasher breaks or your roof is leaking, they will take care of it.
2. Safe Neighborhoods
Military bases aren’t completely crime-free, but there are few violent crimes. For the most part, bases are safer than most other neighborhoods. That’s at least partially thanks to the 24-hour gate guards.
When you live on base, you often see families walking to school or the chapel together.
There’s a certain level of security that comes with living on base, which can ease the stress of having to uproot your family and move to a new place.
3. Events and Shopping
The commissary is usually just a short walk away, and the prices are competitive to off base. For families that are stationed OCONUS, the commissary may offer familiar items that cannot be found in the local area.
Bases also provide special events for holidays and offer other installments, like swimming pools, gyms and even outdoor equipment rentals (kayaks, canoes, etc.).
4. Education and Family Support
Bases also offer education and family support services. Education services range from babies to young adults.
This means that parents can get child care for their babies. After school programs are also available for children in grade school and middle school.
Bases may also have college education centers that accept tuition assistance programs and the GI Bill.
Living on base also gives you access to many family services, including:
- Volunteer programs
- Religious services and counseling
- Teen centers
- Pre-school and after-school care
- Emergency relief loans
- Single service member programs
- Marriage counseling
- Family entertainment centers
- Child care services
5. A Sense of Community
Military bases offer a built-in community. There is always someone willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Neighbors are usually of the same family size or rank.
The other families on base understand what it’s like to be a military family. There’s a sense of camaraderie that’s hard to find off-base.
The community aspect is what ultimately causes many families to live on base.