Headed to a Navy base, and interested in living in Navy housing? The Navy has created a new tool that is supposed to improve the housing information and application process. While I have a lot of questions, it sounds good so far:
Navy Housing offers the Housing Early Application Tool (HEAT), an online tool for families to apply for Navy housing around the world. According to the website, you can select several different potential duty stations and talk to counselors at each location. This allows you to "review all of their housing options at a potential duty stations before accepting orders."
Once you receive orders, HEAT allows you to start the housing application process online, including privatized, government, and leased housing. While this new tool is designed to make the process easier, it does not change the way that the process works:
"HEAT does not automatically place you on a wait list and cannot improve your position on a housing wait list. Wait list position is determined by regulations and a verification of your eligibility by Housing personnel. HEAT does allow you to make earlier contact and complete an advance or active application with the assistance of a Housing counselor. HEAT is available to any service member going to a Navy managed installation."As far as I can tell, this tool is designed to gather together information in a more accessible format. I like that. But I am still pretty skeptical. Who gets to review their orders before accepting them? And how is this new tool going to make the housing office staffs more receptive and helpful? We've dealt with a Navy housing office twice, and both times our housing office experience was ridiculous. I know that I am not alone because I have heard absolute horror stories from others. But I should be more positive - organizations can change. We will have to wait and see.
Have you used this tool? Was it more helpful than any previous way of dealing with housing? Did you get to talk to an actual person at the housing office of your prospective base? If so, did they provide any real information, and did they answer your questions? Enquiring minds want to know!