In 1996, the Department of Defense created the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) program to improve military housing. This program, including 50-year contracts with privatized military housing partners, allowed the private companies to build and manage military housing, with the idea that this would result in better-maintained homes at a lower cost. Unfortunately, this appears to have failed. In recent years, reports of unsafe and inadequate living conditions have drawn attention to severe issues with privatized military housing.
26 years into the MHPI program, health issues caused by poor maintenance is just one of many problems with privatized military housing due to inadequate maintenance. Privatized housing companies seem to be focused more on profits than on providing quality housing for military families, which can lead to serious health issues caused by mold, water damage and other environmental hazards. Unfortunately, many of these problems go unreported or unresolved due to a lack of oversight from the DoD and Military Housing Offices responsible for monitoring these contracts and fear of retaliation from the families.
Despite multiple attempts at the legislative level to protect military families' rights, class action lawsuits by residents, charges by the Department of Justice against housing companies like Balfour Beatty and Hunt, and multiple investigations at the Capitol, the needle has barely moved in improving the situation. Therefore, the Armed Forces Housing Advocates stands firm in its belief that military families must be educated on their rights and understand their lease agreement before signing so that they can protect themselves from unscrupulous landlords who may prioritize profits over quality housing options for our service members and their families. We also firmly advocate that the unbiased third-party oversight of the program is the only way to achieve true and meaningful change in the MHPI program. Readiness starts with a safe home!