The U.S. military takes family life very seriously, and helps military servicemembers provide the best care for their families in a variety of ways, starting with the most basic of needs... housing.
Military servicemembers and their families are offered subsidized housing based on rank, location (assigned or voluntary), marital status, and dependents. Married servicemembers, in many cases, can choose to live on-base with their dependents in assigned military housing units, or off-base and receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).
Your tax-free VA mortgage will assist you with low interest mortgages, no downpayment, and a variety of financial and other benefits just for the military homeowner.
Whatever military housing you prefer - buying or renting a home, living on or off base in military housing or not - the military has options to support your choice.
HOUSING SUPPORT FOR SEPARATED FAMILIES
The military has strict regulations requiring servicemembers to provide for their dependents; as such, housing stipends are issued to military spouses if you are separated by military assignment and using other military living conditions.
So rest assured that your military dependents will receive adequate housing support.
Servicemembers who are assigned to locations where dependents cannot live at government expense (for example, basic training or unaccompanied overseas assignments) can live rent-free in the dormitories, while still receiving a housing allowance to support spouses and family members living off-base.
BAH housing allowance is issued through the servicemembers military paycheck.
ON-BASE MILITARY FAMILY HOUSING
Military servicemembers who are married with dependents have the option of living on-base in military family housing for free, if there is available housing at the base.
If there is a housing waiting list at your military base, your military family has the option of moving off-base at government expense, while receiving a BAH monthly housing allowance. Moving expenses for military housing are covered by the government.
In order to qualify for military family housing, the servicemember must be living in the house with his or her dependents – except if they are on deployment assignments or serving a remote overseas tour. Military housing will cover your dependents when you have full custody of children after a divorce, but does not include a divorced spouse.
WHAT IS MILITARY FAMILY HOUSING LIKE?
When your military family first arrives on base you may find yourselves in in temporary hotel-style housing called billeting, during which time you receive housing and food allowances – as well as Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE) for the first ten days. After that, your local military housing office will be able to assist your military family in finding on or off-base housing units.
Some bases boast exceptional family housing, while others are in need of renovation. Many military bases invite private contractors to build and maintain family housing units on base. These companies rent units, which vary from condo-style to single family houses, to servicemembers in exchange for their housing allowance.
In military family housing units, utilities which include trash, water, gas, and electric are normally free, while luxuries like cable TV and phones are an extra cost. Furniture is normally not provided (although many bases have "loan closets," which will temporarily loan you furniture). Appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers are often provided.
OWN OR RENT, ON OR OFF BASE?
There is no guarantee that every military family will receive on-base family housing. Many bases have a short supply and high demand, which could mean being put on a waiting list.
If constant re-location is a consideration for your military family, living on-base can ease the hassle of moving. When it comes to reassignment, the military makes it easy for you to move from on-base housing. For example, rather than expecting military families to leave the unit spotless, the military may employ contract cleaners to complete the maintenance requirements.
Before you decide to own your home, factor how you might handle military reassignments. Some military homeowners sell their homes, others hold and rent their homes as they move on to meet their military reassignment duties.
If you choose to rent off-base military housing, make sure there is a "military clause" included in the lease. A military clause is a legal agreement of the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act, which entitles you to break the lease with no strings attached if there is a reassignment or deployment for a minimum of 90 days. Voluntarily moving onto the military is not covered under the clause.
Living on base can provide a social and supportive military network which includes a convenient commissary, a base exchange, youth center, on-base schools, and child care facilities. There is also a physical network of military neighbors living a similar lifestyle and able to provide emotional support and practical lifestyle advice. Still, some military families prefer to live among civilians. Whichever you choose, the benefits of an on-base military network are always there for you to discover.