Inadequate BAH Rates Causing Homelessness

Are the BAH rates at your installation inadequate?

We want to help. Why do we want an increase in BAH? Simple. We have homeless military families. This is unacceptable and we need a solution now.

BAH needs to be increased at many locations. Installations can request an increase in BAH for their service members when standard costs of adequate housing are established. If you believe you are one of these installations, AFHA wants to work with you to establish a proposal to work to get those rates increased.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 included the prevision shown below, which allows for the increase.

(A) The Secretary of Defense may prescribe a temporary adjustment in the current rates of basic allowance for housing for a military housing area or a portion thereof (in this paragraph, “BAH rates”) if the Secretary determines that the actual costs of adequate housing for civilians in that military housing area or portion thereof differs from the current BAH rates by more than 20 percent.

(B) Any temporary adjustment in BAH rates under this paragraph shall remain in effect only until the effective date of the first adjustment of BAH rates for the affected military housing area that occurs after the date of the adjustment under this paragraph.

(C) This paragraph shall cease to be effective on September 30, 2022.

Families deserve adequate housing allowances in order to make the best decision on where to live. When left with no options outside of the installation, many families are forced to choose to live in privatized military housing, which has shown to have systemic failures.

Did you know that the DoD is required to provide the private housing companies that run military housing 5% above the BAH rate for each family living in their homes? That means if you receive $2000 in BAH a month to live off of the installation when you live on the installation the DoD is giving an addition $100 a month to the housing company on top of your BAH. This is money that the families will never see. Now $100 may not seem like a lot, but let’s put this into real numbers.

Ellsworth AFB is a small installation with 500 homes, as of July 2021 482 of those homes were occupied. The BAH rate for an E-04 is $888. There will be a variety of ranks living in these homes higher and lower, but for these purposes let’s say everyone is paying $888. Yearly, this housing company would make an extra $256,810.00 from the DoD, money that had these families lived off the installation, they would never see. I would say this is a conservative estimate and the number is actually likely higher when you factor in BAH rates for officers and upper enlisted.

Now let’s look at the actual availability and cost of living off the installation. If you’re an E-04 at Ellsworth AFB and you need a home with 2 bedrooms, there are only 6 currently available and if you need 3 bedrooms, there are only 2 available. When a military housing company tells you that you can just live off the installation when you are unhappy with your home - It is not that simple! Readiness starts with a safe home.

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