As part of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) overall goal to provide safe, affordable housing for military service members and their families, more and more military housing units are being renovated or replaced under the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI). The Service branches use different names for their privatization programs, but the programs are all part of an overall DoD program to improve existing housing and increase the availability of adequate, safe housing through public-private partnerships.
Because military family housing properties were old and deteriorating, it made sense for private developers to take on the projects because they had the experience and expertise to do the job faster, cheaper, and better. Under the MHPI, private developers renovate or replace old, substandard military housing and, in some cases, build additional units. The developers then become the owners and managers of those properties and the landlords for the military families in those homes. Most important, military families get updated, repaired, or newly constructed homes that will be maintained for the next fifty years.
When living in privatized housing, military members continue to receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The manager or owner of the privatized housing functions like a rental property manager in the civilian community. Service members sign a lease for privatized housing and pay the rent directly to the owner. In most new privatized housing communities, service members are responsible for their utilities. Rental rates are based on the BAH rate in the local community, less an amount that is intended to offset utility costs.
Since the MHPI is a partnership program, DoD requires the owners or managers to meet certain requirements for maintaining the properties and providing support services to their military tenants. Residents work through their community housing manager to address maintenance and repair issues. The developer is also required to provide a renter's insurance package. So far, the approval rates of privatized military housing are very high.
Not all government housing is privatized. In some areas, government housing is the only answer. However, the majority of installation housing will soon be privatized. In most cases, military members can decide for themselves whether they want to live on or off the installation (with some exceptions because of job requirements). Many military families want to live on the installation for that sense of community, as well as the convenience of being close to work. The improvements of privatized housing have made the idea even more attractive to military families.