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New report confirms that excusing bad military housing with high occupancy rates is total BS

A government official finally put to rest on Tuesday the lazy excuse that if privatized military housing was really that bad, service members would simply move out.

Elizabeth Field, director of the Government Accountability Office Defense Capabilities and Management, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that one of the metrics the Defense Department uses to measure privatized housing success is high occupancy rates.

In a May report, she said, the DoD called occupancy rates indicative of “high level of service member satisfaction and overall success.”

That’s wrong.

“Through our site visits to 10 installations, where we conducted 15 focus groups with families, we learned that family members often choose to live in privatized housing for reasons that have nothing to do with the housing itself,” Field said, presenting a new report from the GAO over the DoD’s oversight of privatized housing. “Reasons such as living in close proximity to medical and education services for children with special needs, or a concern that off-base housing is neither affordable nor safe.”

Figuring this out shouldn’t take an in-depth government investigation — speaking with any service member or military spouse who has had problems with housing, yet decided to stay on-post, could have perhaps made this clear.

An active-duty Navy spouse told Task & Purpose earlier this year that the reason she and her family have decided to stay in privatized housing is because of proximity to daycare, the commissary, and living in a community with other military families who understand their experiences.

But it’s a talking point used by both the Department and the housing companies.

In a February Senate hearing with housing company executives, Jarl Bliss, the head of Lincoln Military Housing said that if his company was to “cut corners and provide lower quality housing” service members …read more

Read more here:: Task & Purpose

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