Letter to the Editor:
My husband has been active duty in the Coast Guard for over 17 years. We currently have been stationed in Orlando for the past three years. He recently got promoted to senior chief and has been transferred to Key West, which sounded like a dream. We have three children and were looking forward to Key West being our last move before retirement.
We did our diligence, got on the military navy housing waiting list in April 2022, so we would be able to secure a house this summer, as my husband had to report to Key West on July 1st 2022. We decided to live in military housing, as military housing is often more cost effective compared to off-base housing options. Unfortunately, my husband reported to his Key West station on Monday June 6th 2022 and our excitement for our future in Key West has quickly turned into a nightmare.
Even though we have been on the waiting list for housing since April 2022, we still have to wait another four months to move into military housing. Because of that time frame, our children would not be in a secure and stable environment to start off their 2022-2023 school year. As of now, our lease is up July 1st 2022 without the option of extending. Over the last 17 years my husband has been in the military, we have never charted in such unstable waters before. We have always had our next house secured months in advance to prevent such stress on my husband and children.
Since our lease is up July 1st 2022, our family will not have a place to live. Currently our only option is to move across the US to live with family without my husband, until we can secure military housing. So not only will my children be living states away from their father unnecessarily, they will miss his birthday, holidays with their father, and possibly the first month of school. My husband’s command is very upset with the navy housing situation. My husband has to use his leave, which was saved for our family vacation, to help move our family across the US so we can stay with family.
I’m telling you all this because we are just one military family of many who are facing this problematic reality in Key West. This military housing crisis is leaving many active-duty members and their family homeless in financial strain. The Navy has also closed their barracks which displaced about 60 single lower ranking active members, who can’t afford other housing options due to Key West housing inflation.
Navy housing has also left one of the Navy housing units, where the military families live, unsecured allowing homeless people into the housing facility and civilians on the facility to access the Navy gas station for cheaper gas.
I’m hoping by bringing this to the public’s attention, something can be done to help our military members, so they can perform their duties. Key West’s Coast Guard station is one of busiest and most stressful units. With that being said, securing housing shouldn’t inflict more stress into their already stressful lives or mental health.
A frustrated Military Spouse*
(*Editor’s Note: The author of this Letter to the Editor has asked to remain anonymous to “prevent hostile response from Navy Housing.”)