News | Aug. 9, 2021

Relocation readiness resources

By Onyx Taylor-Catterson 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A permanent change of duty station can happen at any time. The Army Community Service is available to help ensure a smooth transition, whether members are coming to or moving from Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Getting orders can be exciting, but what’s next? Donna Cloy, a community readiness consultant with ACS, recommends attending the “Plan My Move” class hosted monthly by the relocation readiness team. Participants can attend the class in person or by virtual appointment.

“If it is your first or second move, it can be a little intimidating, so we have this workshop to go over some of the basics of the PCS and answer any questions,” said Cloy.

In this class, service members and families can get their questions answered and find information about their new duty station, such as schools, housing and recreation.

Servicemembers experiencing strain from the shortage of contracted movers during the 2021 PCS can also look to “Plan My Move” for information regarding Personally Procured Moves, according to Garin Rawson, Chief of Personal Property at Langley Air Force Base.

“Especially in this climate…” said Rawson, referring to labor and supply shortages among moving companies contracted by the Department of Defense. “Doing a PPM is looking like the best way to do it.”

Participants can create their custom checklist based on their timeline and family, which includes children, family members enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program, and pets.

Those unable to attend the class can make their custom checklist at https://planmymove.militaryonesource.mil/plan-my-move-checklist.

MilitaryOneSource.mil provides a wealth of information on PCS moves with free articles and a digital welcome guide for any military installation worldwide.

Move.mil also provides resources such as weight estimators, travel tips and a rights and responsibilities handbook that servicemembers can reference throughout their move.

Cloy also recommends the website https://www.milspousemoneymission.org/ for service members and families as a resource for financial planning during a PCS. The site contains helpful videos and worksheets. Despite the name, this website is a valuable resource for servicemembers and spouses.

“The Department of Defense created it to encourage spouses to be an active part of their family's finances; it's a great resource,” said Cloy.

New service members and DoD civilians arriving on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, ranks E1-E5, O1-O3 and WO1-2, are encouraged to attend the “Newcomer’s Orientation,” hosted by ACS and the Airman and Family Readiness Center. This event is scheduled twice per month. Senior ranking service members can view the presentation virtually.

The orientation provides in-bound personnel with pertinent information about community initiatives, programs, activities and facilities to assist with the move to JBLE.

“Uniquely Eustis” is a newcomer’s orientation focusing on resources specifically for military spouses.  This orientation is held monthly, in-person and virtually.

“We [Uniquely Eustis] talk about spouse employment and focus more on family programs, childcare, schools and answer specific questions that they might have,” explained Cloy.

The “Fort Eustis Loan Locker” program is for service members and civilians on PCS orders to the JBLE area waiting for their household goods or for those who have had theirs packed. The program offers kitchen items, cots and irons for a 30-day loan period; extensions are available upon request. This service is by appointment only.

For more information on these classes and services, or to register, call 757-878-3638 or email eustis.acs@gmail.com.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

For service members and families in need of financial help due to PCS, the Army Emergency Relief and the Air Force Assistance Fund offer zero-interest loans and grant programs on a case-by-case basis to help defray the cost of unexpected expenses.

The program assists with initial deposits for rent, mortgage, temporary lodging, and initial purchase of basic essential furniture, food and utilities.

AER and AFAF can help with spouse re-licensing and recertification when spouses relocate to a new duty station. For families with children, loans, grants, or groans, a combination of a loan and a grant, are available to assist servicemembers who PCS and require child care in high-cost areas.

Effective June 2021, AER added a pet transportation assistance program to help reduce the cost on Soldiers and families during PCS. AER will offer up to $5,500 as a no-interest loan. AFAF offers a pet transportation assistance loan up to $1,000 for CONUS to OCONUS PCSs.

“Because the number of flights has decreased [due to the COVID-19 pandemic], the limited military transport that families can use, and prices have gone up, they offer this so families don't get into financial difficulties trying to keep their pets,” said Cloy.

For AER information, contact the Fort Eustis AER at 757-234-9634. For AFAF information, contact the Langley AFB AFRC at 757-764-3990.

“We are here to help. There are a lot of resources out there to assist and to help make that process smoother,” said Cloy. “That's our job just to make the lives of service members and families moving in and out a little bit easier.”

For additional PCS resources, visit the following websites:

https://www.facebook.com/forteustisacs

https://www.militaryonesource.mil/moving-housing/moving/moving-resources/

https://installations.militaryonesource.mil/

https://move.mil/

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