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Maybe I should be doing this differently, so let me know.

I have a service which needs access to an encrypted home directory. The service runs as the user whose home directory is encrypted. As long as the user is logged it, the service can read from the directory, but as soon as I log out it can't read anymore.

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but as soon as I log out it can't read anymore

This makes sense to me for a secured service. But from your title, it seems that you don't like it. Then why not mount the user's encrypted home directory on boot up, in /etc/fstab?

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