Military families were a little surprised when the Defense Department (DoD) decided not to renew their contract sponsorship of the popular Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN) website late last year. At the time, the Defense Department said they were looking for new (presumably cheaper) solutions for helping military families find housing.
DoD now plans to roll out their own housing referral website later this year at Homes.mil. In addition to the normal local rental listings, it will give the local housing office some control over screening, DoD officails said.
"Homes.mil will allow for searching of rental listings that meet search criteria in the vicinity of a selected military installation, side-by-side comparison of listings, display listings on a map, and save searches," said Mark Wright, a DoD spokesman. "Rental listings in Homes.mil will be screened for suitability by the local military housing office."
Homes.mil, which won't launch for those house hunting until September with "expanded capability" slated for late November, won't be military user's only option. AHRN is still operating and still free for users. But instead of being funded by the DoD, the site is now funded by advertising, according to AHRN officials.
Homes.mil will be available for property managers to post listings starting in late August.
If you've been using AHRN to rent or sell your own home or find one, you're familiar with its capabilities. But Homes.mil won't be quite so broad.
"Homes.mil will only list residential properties for rent," Wright told us.
Homes.mil will also require a log-in to use for anything beyond scanning rental listing, Wright said, although he did not specify if that log-in will be the same as the DS log-in you probably already have or unique.
Since the roll-out is still several months away we'll have to wait to do a real review of what it offers. But when the time comes, you can expect to see all the details here. Stay tuned!