On-post housing at Fort Riley saves you two things we all love: time and money. If you’re not going to live on post, your nearest alternatives are Manhattan, Junction City and Ogden. With Manhattan being about 25 minutes from post and Junction City about 15 minutes away, you save yourself a solid hour a day by living on post. So much more time for activities!
Financially, yes it’s a bummer that living on post means you don’t get your BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing). But, unless you’re signing up for cable, satellite and/or Internet, living on post won’t cost you a dime. But of course you’ll be ordering those services. What else are you going to do? Read and talk to your family?!
Plus, considering how incredibly nice some of Fort Riley’s homes and amenities are, you pay a heck of a lot more than your BAH if you live in the same size home in the surrounding community.
How on-post housing works
A company called Corvias runs Fort Riley’s on-post housing. When you get your PCS orders for Fort Riley, simply give the office a call (785-717-2258) or submit your paperwork through its website. Based on the servicemember’s rank and number of dependents, you’ll qualify for certain homes in any of the five neighborhoods.
It’s anybody’s guess which houses will be available when you PCS. However, it’s still fun to click around the Corvias website and get a feel for the size and look of each home and make a list of your favorites.
Once you arrive at Fort Riley, you’ll meet with a Corvias employee who will give you tours of each of the available homes, and you’ll pick the one you like best. When we moved here, we had a choice of five homes in three different neighborhoods. Each house has its perks and drawbacks. Some have garages, some have basements, some have more than one floor, and so on. It all depends on what you want and how much space you need.
You’ll have a quick commute to and from work each day. Especially since the line of cars at the gates can get pretty backed up each morning. On post, you can get just about anywhere in 10 minutes or less.
If you have kids in elementary school, their on-post school will be a short walk or quick bus ride away.
Plus, living in on-post housing means you’re close to a grocery store (commissary), miniature Target (PX), post office, several gyms, gas stations, vet, pharmacies, hospital and recreational activities like bowling and skeet shooting.
The commissary’s prices are significantly lower than any of the grocery stores in Junction City or Manhattan, plus you don’t have to pay sales tax. Kansas’ taxes on groceries are absurd. In Manhattan the tax is almost 9%. No thanks!
On-post housing does not require you to pay any utilities if you stay under an allotted (and generous) threshold. When my son was born in February, I had the heat jacked up to 72 degrees because I was worried his tiny wrinkly body would get too cold at night. You know what our utility bill was that month? A whopping 57 cents. A friend who lives in a modest three-bedroom home in Manhattan pays over $200 to keep her house at 63 degrees during the bitter cold Kansas winters.
No yard work or snow shoveling
Fort Riley hires crews to handle all the grass cutting, mulching and weed pulling around your home. You’re welcome to plant flowers and even grow a garden if you like. But, it sure is nice when its over 100 degrees to not worry about getting heat stroke while pushing a lawnmower around.
In the winter, the roads around post and in your neighborhood are treated for ice (take notes, Atlanta!), and after a big snowfall they are often plowed before you even wake up in the morning. To be honest, I feel safer driving around Fort Riley in the winter than I do Manhattan because the on-post roads are so well maintained.
Right and Up Tip: You will want a snow shovel for your walkway, though. Shoveling is a great upper body workout!
Fort Riley welcomes dogs and cats in their on-post housing, with a few stipulations of course. You can’t have more than three dogs or cats (or a combination), and the following dog breeds are restricted: pit bulls, bull terriers, dobermans, chows, rottweilers, wolf hybrids (sorry, Jon Snow) and any crosses of those breeds. The only other animals allowed on post are hamsters and guinea pigs. So, no pythons or pot-bellied pig. Corvias requires that you pay a refundable $150 deposit for each animal and have them registered with the on-post vet clinic.
Right and Up Tip: If you’d like a fence, Corvias will install one you can rent for $50 a month.
The number of detached single-family homes are few and far between on post. That means you’ll be living right next to (and in some cases, above or below) someone else.
Perhaps we are just lucky, but in the two years we’ve lived here, we have been able to call all of our neighbors friends. We regularly eat dinners together, catch up on the weekend over drinks outside, and do favors for one another when we go out of town. When we moved in, all of our neighbors brought over something homemade and delicious when they came by to introduce themselves. That’s something you just don’t experience in the average community anymore.
When you live on post, you’re immersed in a community comprised of families who are just like yours. If your spouse deploys, chances are you’re living a stone’s throw away from someone else whose spouse is deployed.
If something goes awry in your house—whether it’s a busted toilet or a bat in the attic—simply give Corvias a call (they have a 24-hour emergency line) and they’ll send someone out to take care of it. The best part? It won’t cost you a penny.
This is especially nice for people like me who know next to nothing about home repair and have found that if something is going to break, it’ll break when your spouse is deployed or TDY.
Plus, Corvias must screen their maintenance crew for friendliness because each one I’ve encountered is incredibly helpful and straight up jolly.
Overall, my experience living in on-post housing has been awesome. Sure, the drive to the amazing restaurants in Manhattan or the requirement to sign visitors in gets old, but the perks certainly make up for those few drawbacks.
About the Author
Rachel is an Auburn grad (War Damn Eagle!) and holds a degree in journalism. While working as a sports writer covering the Tigers, she met a cute, tall officer stationed at Fort Benning. A few margaritas, conversations about why a no-huddle offense is superior and 18 months later, they got married. They have PCS’d to Fort Huachuca, Fort Riley and will soon head to Washington DC. They have a ridiculously adorable son named Gavin and two furry children, Jeter and Lilly.