Co-signed by over 40 organizations that serve military and veteran families, the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) submitted a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Friday, February 24, 2023, encouraging the Department of Defense to fully restore the Basic Allowance for Housing to 100 percent.
The letter is a result of months of collaboration between private, public, and nonprofit leaders—compiling research and insights from the military community to demonstrate why BAH restoration would help further strengthen the economic security of service members and their families. It is also authored from a place of shared interests to inform Pentagon leaders ahead of a Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) deadline which requires DoD to submit a report on BAH restoration to Congress by March 1, 2023.
The full letter text can be found below and here.
February 24, 2023
The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Secretary Austin,
The undersigned organizations, who share your commitment to supporting service members and their families, applaud the Department of Defense (DoD) for the progress being made in strengthening the economic security of military families.
We are writing to you today to encourage DoD to restore the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to the full 100 percent—a step that would create a positive ripple effect on the well-being of those who serve and their families. Research from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and nongovernmental organizations have raised concerns around the calculations and if BAH is covering the intended 95 percent, as well as the second and third order effects of experiencing a housing cost burden.
We share the following for consideration in advance of the report that DoD will deliver to Congress on the examination of the restoration of BAH:
- 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 military housing. The five percent increase would provide critical funding for military housing improvements amid labor shortages and pandemic-related material cost increases.
We appreciate DoD’s leadership and focus on identifying ways to better care for our service members and their families. Success in implementing BAH restoration will safeguard the economic security of military families in the face of extraordinary pressures as well as reinforce your commitment to those who provide the solid foundation for our Force.
Air Force Aid Society, Inc
Air Force Sergeants Association
American Red Cross
Armed Services YMCA
Association of Military Banks of America
Blue Star Families
Code of Support Foundation
Cohen Veterans Network
Defense Credit Union Council
Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services
Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Easterseals DC MD VA
Food Care Center
Hope For The Warriors
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
JWB Jewish Chaplains Council
Lauren Hope Collective
Military Child Education Coalition
Military Family Advisory Network
Military Officers Association of America
Military Spouse Advocacy Network
Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce
Military Spouse JD Network
National Military Family Association
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Partners in PROMISE
Safe Military Housing Initiative
Secure Families Initiative
Student Veterans of America
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
Tricare for Kids Coalition
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
United Through Reading
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Vets’ Community Connections
Wounded Warrior Project