Lower Graded Military Personnel With Families Are Not Suitably Housed but Should Be

Gao ID: CED-79-92 September 25, 1979

The Department of Defense's (DOD) stated housing policy is to assure that members of the Armed Forces with dependents have suitable housing for their families. However, the current DOD policy as applied to lower graded enlisted personnel and the services' assignments of onbase housing is to rely on local communities near military installations for suitable housing. When there is a shortage of suitable offbase housing, the DOD policy is to construct housing at the installation as a last resort. However, the methods for determining the housing needs do not consider the needs of the lowest grades, E-1, E-2, E-3, and E-4 with less than 2 years of service, as they are not eligible for onbase housing. Furthermore, the eligible grades of E-5 and E-6 are not given the same opportunity to obtain onbase housing as higher grades. In a February 1978 report, it was recommended that the Navy give priority to lower graded eligible personnel in assigning onbase housing at one installation. Although disagreeing with the recommendation, DOD agreed that a review of the assignment policy may be useful and said that a task force was making such a review. However, it has been learned that as of July 1979, the task force has not made the review that DOD said it would.

The result of DOD policy is that the military constructs and assigns housing to the higher graded personnel who can afford prevailing local rents, and those who can least afford it are forced to obtain offbase housing if they wish to live with their dependents. The review showed that a substantially greater percentage of lower graded persons than higher graded persons: (1) suffer financial hardship in obtaining community housing; (2) live in housing DOD considers substandard; and (3) live without their dependents because they are unable to obtain onbase family housing or suitable community housing.


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