Beginning Oct. 1, Hunter Army Airfield Soldiers affected by surging housing costs in the local area will be able to apply for a temporary increase in Basic Allowance for Housing, which will be available through Dec. 31.
According to Andrew Williams, Housing Service Office branch chief, there are 56 military housing areas, including Savannah, that have been identified under this temporary relief program.
“The temporary increase is intended to help service members who have been challenged finding affordable housing due to the current health pandemic,” said Travis Mobley, Hunter Army Airfield deputy garrison commander. “For those Soldiers that have experienced increased housing costs, they will be afforded the opportunity to apply for the temporary increase to offset impacts of the pandemic.”
While BAH rates are reviewed annually by the Department of Defense, new BAH rates will not be released until mid-December for 2022.
In order to determine these BAH rates, the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Housing Service Office and an economic consulting firm compiled data for submission to DOD.
“The data collection is about a 4 month period starting in March and ending in July,” said Williams. “That collected data is then given to [the contractor] for verification and further analysis. After verification, the data is sent to Office of the Secretary of Defense for use in determining next year’s BAH.”
There are a total of 6 different anchor points ranging from one bedroom apartments to four bedroom single family homes. These anchor points are strictly rental properties that are available at the time of data collection. The Housing Service Office works throughout the data collection process to ensure only relevant data makes its way to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, which make the final determination.
“We do have the opportunity to approve and disapprove data that comes from [the contractor] and vice versa,” said Williams. “For example, we might not accept a property that is within an area with high crime, so we have to be very vigilant when we are accepting these anchor points. What we are doing here is telling a story. In this most recent data collection period, it was clear that the anchor points were higher than the BAH.”
This temporary increase will not be applied automatically. The requirements for application have not yet been released. According to Williams, the housing relief will be a 10% increase in BAH regardless of rank within the Savannah area along with 39 other MHAs.
The temporary increase does not apply to Soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart.
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