More than 37,000 married Soldiers are stationed at Fort Bragg and on-post housing can accommodate 6,500 Families. This means the majority of Families have to find housing off-post in areas where they may not be familiar, said Dale Young, chief of housing services at Directorate of Public Works Housing Services Office.
Finding the best home for one’s Family, including safe neighborhoods, fair prices and possibly searching for a preferred school district can be a daunting task when tackled alone.
The DPW Housing Services Office exists to help alleviate some of these stresses through a variety of services aimed to help Soldiers find the perfect housing accommodations for his or her Family.
The services are available to all active-duty servicemembers and their Families at no cost with no need to schedule an appointment, said Young.
“We have several functions, and they’re all equally important; but they’re not equally used,” said Young.
The most commonly used service is the housing referral service, which assists customers find a suitable home by offering information for off-post areas or directing them to Corvias Military Living if they prefer to live on-post.
“I have a staff of counselors ready to match them with their needs and find a good home that fits them,” Young said.
Young said the Housing Services Office offers a lot more than referral services.
“Very few folks take advantage of our lease review services,” said Young. “We would like for everyone to bring the lease to us before they sign it and let us review it.”
Young said the review is a precaution to ensure tenants do not sign any contract that would violate North Carolina state law or require the servicemember to sign away any rights.
In addition to housing referral and lease review services, the office also offers a utility deposit waiver program, performs inspections of rental properties before or after moving and can act as a mediator with landlords when lease or deposit disputes arise, said Young.
Essentially, the staff at the DPW Housing Services Office works to help Soldiers and their Families find suitable homes and manage the challenges that accompany permanent change of station moves.
Pfc. Jason Devoge, a mechanic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 189th Infantry Brigade, has come to DPW Housing Services Office several times and said he appreciates the assistance.
“They’ve helped us out a lot because my orders didn’t come through in time and we needed to extend our lease without signing a new one,” said Devoge.
His wife, Stacey, agreed the staff made the process easier than they expected.
“When we got here, they were really nice and helped us to get everything done,” she said.
Veronica M. Crumpler, a housing manager assistant, understands the stress that moving can bring, especially for Soldiers and Family members who are new to active duty. Crumpler is married to a retired Marine, which provided her with plenty of military moving experience that she enjoys sharing with her customers.
“That’s where my heart is at — helping the Soldiers and their Families,” said Crumpler.
Crumpler often goes beyond her job requirements and offers advice from her personal experience like packing, particularly when Families are moving overseas. She tries to help anyone feeling overwhelmed or who may be experiencing these challenges for the first time.
“I’m going to help them every step of the way, if I can, because I’ve walked in those shoes that those ladies are walking in today,” Crumpler said.
The DPW Housing Services Office is located on the sixth floor of the Soldier Support Center and never requires an appointment. The staff also plans to launch their updated website later this month to better serve clients.
“It’s our job at the Housing Services Office to help them (active-duty servicemembers) find a place to live,” said Young. “And to make sure that all of those units are suitable for Soldiers to live in.”