If you’ve retired from the armed forces, you may be thinking about living in military housing. Fortunately, that option is open to you. However, finding a place that’s suitable for both you and your family may be a bit more challenging than visiting the base’s housing office and signing up.

For one thing, some military bases don’t offer housing to retirees. In those that do, you’ll have to go through proper channels to be considered for tenancy.

Here’s an overview of military housing requirements – along with several alternative options if you are a retiree, just in case your plans for living on base don’t pan out.

Key Takeaways

  • Veterans looking to retire to military housing have some affordable options at their disposal, not available to ordinary citizens.
  • Military-only retirement communities or other senior living centers that cater to military families are options, in addition to on-base housing if available.
  • Depending on your rank at retirement, better or worse options may be available in terms of location, size, and overall quality of housing.

An Overview of Military Housing

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) prefers to utilize private sector housing. Service members who exercise this option receive a housing allowance to cover the cost, according to the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment.

To be eligible for military family housing, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least one military family member living in your household
  • If single, live in barracks with a roommate

But what about retirees who don't have a currently serving military family member living with them?

Military Housing Options for Retirees

Although some aren’t technically military housing units, there are several options that will allow retirees to reside among their comrades.

Military Base

Corvias Military Living, a property-management firm that works alongside the Army to provide an improved housing experience, allows retired members of the military to apply for housing on Army and Air Force bases. Applications can be completed online, but you’ll need to select the desired property from a comprehensive list to move forward.

Among the bases listed are Fort Bragg (Calif.), McConnell Air Force Base (Kan.) and Reece Crossings at Fort Meade (Md.). 

Military-Only Retirement Community

If you’re unable to find a property on base, a military-only retirement community may be a viable option. There are a number of properties around the nation to choose from, including:

  • Indian River Colony Club (Melbourne, FL) – open to former commissioned officers and warrant officers of the uniformed services.
  • Knollwood Military Retirement Community  (Washington, D.C.) – open to retired officers on military or government payroll, children, siblings, parents, parents-in-law. There is no minimum age requirement for family members.
  • The Army Residence Community (San Antonio, TX) – open to retired career military officers (who’ve served at least 20 years in the military and 10 or more as a commissioned or warrant officer) and their spouses. Widows and widowers are also welcomed.
  • Vinson Hall Retirement Community (McLean, VA) – open to seniors who are commissioned military officers and their immediate family members.
  • Falcon’s Landing (Potomac Falls, VA) – open to retired and honorably charged officers, spouses and surviving spouses.

Senior-Living Community

There are also several senior-living communities that are open to the public, but house significant numbers of military retirees because of their location. These include:

  • Blue Skies of Texas (two locations in San Antonio, TX) – caters to officers of the armed forces, spouses and widows, but non-military retirees are welcome.
  • The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods (Fort Belvoir, VA) – located within close proximity of Fort Belvoir.
  • Patriots Landing (DuPont, WA) – located close to McChord Air Force Base.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a retiree looking to remain in touch with your military roots, there may be on-base housing options available to you. But if you’d rather make your next home an apartment or single-family home in a senior living community, there are a number of appealing options – especially if you were an officer. There is also The Armed Forces Retirement Home (if you meet the qualifications). 

No luck with your search? Contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for additional assistance.