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Military families navigate rising housing costs around Fort Campbell on state line

Homes in Oak Grove, Kentucky
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 18:30:52-04

OAK GROVE, Ky. (WTVF) — Soldiers relocating to Fort Campbell are in a crunch, as they're juggling inflation, rising rent and surging mortgage rates.

Permanent change of station generally happens between June and August for the U.S. Army.

Liz Grace moved to the area last year.

"Rents were high, it’s hard to find housing on post," Grace said.

On-post housing is at 96% capacity, according to a Fort Campbell spokesperson. That being said, some families might have to wait months to get a home. It depends on family size and what's available.

"It’s just definitely putting them in a crunch," Grace said.

In off-camera conversations, NewsChannel 5 talked to a family who just moved to Oak Grove. They’re currently living in an Airbnb due to the waitlist on-post.

Grace said searching for a rental off-post was hard too, including homes that were "too pricey."

Fort Campbell has a deal with IHG-Holiday Inn Express hotels to provide temporary housing on Fort Campbell.

"When you’re moving to a new place, it can be a little nuts finding a new place, but not like this," Grace said, "I really did not expect this coming."

For families who want to buy a home and not rent, there are rising mortgage rates.

"We’re not seeing the 10 offers on every property," Clarksville Realtor Christian Black said.

The silver lining is there's now more inventory, according to Black. He works at Century 21 Platinum Properties in Clarksville. He said there were 300 houses in the Montgomery County area in the early spring, with around 560 in inventory now.

He tells Army families to buy a home if they'll be in town for at least three years.

"The last two years, we had 20% last year, 18 to 20% appreciation, and then the year before, I think 15% appreciation, which was unheard of," Black said.

A spokesperson at Fort Campbell said they have mortgage and rent assistance programs through Fort Campbell’s Housing Services Office which can be reached at 270-798-3808.

In addition, there's a program where soldiers can get no-interest loans or grants for emergencies. Advocates with the Army Emergency Relief program can be reached at 270-798-5518 for more information.

"Hopefully, things will get better soon," Grace said.

Fort Campbell is also in the process of building 680 homes to replace ones that no longer meet soldiers' needs. Then, the older homes will be demolished.

In addition, they're renovating hundreds of houses on-post. This is a $322-million investment that should be completed in 2026.