The Military Housing Association strongly supports calls from organizations serving military and veteran families, including the Military Family Advisory Network, American Red Cross, Blue Star Families, and the National Military Family Association to restore the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to 100%.
The letter signed by the organizations was sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as the Department of Defense finalizes its Fiscal Year 2024 budget request to Congress. In it the groups set out how restoring the BAH would “create a positive ripple effect on the well-being of those who serve and their families” and make the following points:
- “Families, in many cases, are paying beyond what DoD intends. Military pay increases were not commensurate with a volatile housing market and record inflation.
- “Restoration would offset the choice many face between paying for food or paying for housing.Active duty families who pay more than their BAH for housing every month are significantly more likely to experience food insecurity, as identified by the USDA Food Security Scale, and less likely to be food secure.
- “Increasing BAH to 100% will help ensure the long-term sustainability of [on-base] military housing. The five percent increase would provide critical funding for military housing improvements amid labor shortages and pandemic-related material cost increases.”
The BAH is the sole source of revenue for Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) project owners, who in partnership with the DoD, cover the cost of financing, developing, constructing, renovating, managing and maintaining on-base military housing. The BAH also helps MHPI project owners provide a broad range of benefits to military residents that are not typically covered off-base, such as basic utility expenses, 24/7 maintenance, community centers, and other amenities like free workout and recreation facilities.
Any remaining BAH revenue is invested back into installation housing to ensure the long-term viability of the properties including renovations, new home construction, upgraded amenity installations, and initiatives that progress the DoD’s sustainability goals. Without adequate and accurately calculated BAH rates, private housing providers and military families will continue to be impacted by rising costs, inflationary pressures, and economic uncertainty.
Restoring BAH to cover 100% of housing costs will provide greater financial security for residents living in MHPI communities and help ensure that the housing providers are able to continue to invest in high-quality on-base housing.