Moving into 2015, there are changes coming to military housing. How you pay for your PCS, how much BAH you receive and who is living in on post housing are all evolving under budgetary and political pressure. How will you be affected?
During 2014, the military community was bombarded with political input about compensation, benefits and budgetary policy. Throughout the process, the end result felt largely theoretical – but those changes are beginning to be implemented. AHRN.com is outlining the changes that apply to military housing to help you evaluate how they impact your housing choices.
BAH Formula Adjusted
In March of 2014, the Pentagon’s suggested cost saving measures included a request that Congress adjust the BAH formula to cover 95% of housing costs instead of the current 100%. However, the annual defense bill finalized in December reduced the BAH slice to 1%. Although this is the first reduction in a generation, it is a far cry from the 80% of housing costs that BAH covered in the 1980s.
DoD has extended the rate protection policy, so service members will only experience the rate change when they PCS to protect those in a long term lease. Check out the change in your BAH here.
Just A Small Bump
This year’s inflation increase was reduced from last year’s 5% to just .5% – the smallest increase in years. The much smaller increase reflect the change mentioned above (percentage of housing costs that BAH is intended to cover) and the removal of the cost of Renter’s Insurance as a covered housing expense. On average, this will be an increase of $17 per month.
Privatized Housing + The Waterfall Clause
In 2014, AHRN.com brought you the news that installations were beginning to invoke their “waterfall clause” – which allowed the opening of housing eligibility to retirees and civilians when occupancy rates fall below a specified level. Installations are implementing the change in different ways. Fort Bragg, as of December 1, opened housing to DoD civilians, retirees and the families of fallen service members as Corvias Housing looked to boost the occupancy rate from the current 88% to 95%. According to Military Times, the housing office began receiving phone calls from interested, newly eligible individuals within hours of the announcement. Dover Air Force Base has opened housing communities to everyone – including non-federally employed civilians. According to a July article from Delaware Online, six of the 25 communities managed by Hunt Companies, INC are now available to the general public.
In the public statements about multiple companies invoking the waterfall clause, it is repeated that priority will still go to Active Duty service members and their families. However, there is no mention of how the companies will maintain long term availability. Traditionally, homes are available during PCS season as the current residents PCS on to new assignments. With a growing population of retirees, DOD and non-federal civilians who are not moving frequently, the more stable residency numbers will mean less housing available for incoming service members at a time when their BAH dollars aren’t stretching as far because of reductions.
Do these changes impact your housing search? AHRN.com is adding thousands of listings a month that can be searched based on your BAH!