Farewell dorms; Hello housing!

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Savannah L. Waters
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

With every promotion, Airmen gain new responsibilities and expectations. Some promotions come with the eligibility to move out of the base dormitories, and the process can unfortunately take longer when Airmen receive incorrect information.

Ramstein’s Dorm Reception Center and the Vogelweh Housing Office are dedicated to ensuring that Airmen who are moving out of the dorms experience a smooth transition.

Managing 17 dormitories and more than 1,500 rooms on Ramstein Air Base and Kapaun Air Station, the DRC must maintain a 95 percent occupancy rate in each facility, and can only offer alternative living arrangements to Airmen in the dorms once it goes over that limit. Once the occupancy rate of any dorm building reaches 95 percent, any Senior Airman with more than three years of service can be released to move out of the dorms if they have more than six months remaining on their date eligible for return from overseas (DEROS).

If the occupancy rate for a dorm facility is far enough over 95 percent and all Senior Airmen are moved out, occasionally lower-ranking individuals could also be eligible to move out, with recommendation from their leadership and final approval by Housing.

 The DRC says that in order to be identified as being eligible to move, each Airman must keep the DRC updated on any promotion or changes in rank.

Once an Airman is identified to move out of the dorms, the DRC and Housing Office conducts a joint briefing to discuss the basics.

During the briefing, Airmen learn there are certain steps which must be followed if they wish to avoid complications.

“Taking your time and following through with all necessary paperwork is a very important part of the process,” said Cynthia Hallett, Vogelweh Housing Office chief of the assistance section.

Upon receiving approval, Airmen can find a home with a liaison if one is available. Housing stresses that it is important Airmen know not to sign the contract until Housing reviews and approves it. As soon as the contract is approved and housing receives a dorm clearance letter from the DRC, the Airman’s overseas housing allowance starts that same day.

Airmen must also be present during the premises inventory, and have the landlord sign a United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) Form 333a.

Any questions that members may have about the process can be directed to the Housing Office.

“When I went in to sign my contract, I still didn’t understand a few things like getting utilities started and who I should talk to about internet in my village,” said Airman 1st Class Logan Tatham, 1st Air & Space Communications Operations Squadron intel systems operations admin. “Odds are, any question you have the Housing Office has heard before, so ask and see what they say.”

After the initial dorm briefing, Airmen have 30 days to schedule an inspection and clear out of the dorms. The entire process of moving from the dorms takes an average of two to three weeks, depending on housing availability.

“I went into the briefing with almost no idea on how the process worked but was in my own home within two weeks,” Tatham said.

Rooms can be cleared and inspected before the 30 days, but the overseas housing allowance does not start until the room is cleared.

What most Airmen don’t know is that the DRC offers pre-termination inspections. An Airman Dorm Leader gives feedback from a 15 to 20 minute walk through in a dorm to identify any issues with the dorm that may cause inspection failure.

“We give these inspections as a courtesy to help ensure the residents have a smooth final inspection with minimal discrepancies,” said Tech. Sgt. Gentry Koepp, 86th Civil Engineering Squadron unaccompanied housing NCO in charge. “With these unofficial inspections, less time is wasted.”

For questions or more information, please contact Vogelweh Housing Office at DSN 314-489-6643/6671 or commercial 011-49-631-536-6643/6671. Housing is located on Vogelweh Military Complex, building 1001.