Here’s what’s happening to help military families hit hard by housing and relocation crises
Relief could come for service members and families struggling to find housing and move household items, as they attempt to make it to their next duty station this summer.
Some action has been taken as some service managers have added flexibility in the dates on which service members must report to the next duty station. The military’s privatized accommodation partner has announced extended reduced rates at its hotels for military personnel who must stay longer to find permanent accommodation. And defense officials are exploring more options such as a temporary, off-cycle shelter allowance increase to help military personnel find rental accommodation; and extensions of temporary accommodation fee payments for longer hotel stays.
Troops and families are hit hard by a widespread housing crisis. Many said they were taking a big financial hit, having to pay out of pocket for extended hotel stays while waiting for accommodation, and in some cases having to rent accommodation that exceeded their housing allowance by 600. $ or more each month, but often far away from their facility. Many who are trying to buy a home report that they have offered tens of thousands of dollars more than the listing price for a home and that they are still outbid in an extremely competitive housing market.
Then there’s the shortage of moving companies, struggling to find workers, dealing with equipment shortages and other issues during a busy moving season that can continue. for weeks, according to an industry source.
Here’s an update on what’s going on:
* Defense officials are considering a temporary, off-cycle increase in BAH. Right now, they are in their annual process of collecting data on rental housing costs in each of the 300 military housing zones across the country, DoD spokeswoman Lisa Lawrence said. BAH adjustments are generally made on January 1 of each year; some ask for changes sooner to bring some relief.
The DoD “is aware that across the country, on average, there appear to be fewer rentals available than usual. Rental occupancy is up and turnover in rental units is down, ”she said.
* Officials are also determining places that are experiencing such an extreme housing shortage that an expansion in spending on temporary accommodation is needed, Lawrence said. It is currently capped at 10 days. By law, the TLE can be increased for up to 60 days in the event of a housing shortage in a location where the President has declared a major disaster under Stafford Act.
The DoD will then work with the military departments, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Public Health Service on any potential changes to joint travel regulations, Lawrence said.
Members of the service said that currently, once their TLE expires and their BAH kicks in, they still pay significantly more for temporary accommodation than their BAH covers.
“The Department is examining what other measures might be available to address the current housing situation facing some of our members,” said Lawrence.
* Some services allow adjustments in report dates. For example, an Army policy change released earlier this month allows soldiers on assignment with reporting dates of July 6 through September 30, 2021 to report to their new duty station for up to 30 days. earlier and up to 20 days after the publication date of the report. on their orders, said Army Human Resources Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Matt Fontaine. “Divisions of military personnel are allowed to defer soldiers for up to 60 days from the date of the initial report, but no later than November 10,” he said.
* Lendlease and IHG Army Hotels announced on Tuesday that they are extending their room rate reduction offer at all 40 IHG Army Hotels properties across the United States until the end of fiscal 2022, to help those who move PCS.
This allows service members to obtain temporary accommodation at BAH rates until they find permanent accommodation in their new duty station, said Gretchen Turpen, senior vice president, responsible for accommodation for Lendlease, which operates the privatized accommodation, in the ad. It applies to any soldier who moves to a job at a military base or a joint base where one of these hotels is located. IHG Army Hotels began offering the lowest rates at the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, when there was a freeze on PCS movements. Thousands of families have taken advantage of the reduced fare since then, Lendlease officials said.
Members of the service must request the BAH rate, from the General Manager or Director of Operations, under certain conditions. It is not a default rate. Service member having difficulty finding permanent accommodation should contact their accommodation office or hotel reception to obtain a form providing the information hotel staff need to manually adjust the rate so that ‘in the future, the hotel rate will be equal to its particular BAH rate.