Military Housing, What Works, What Doesn’t?
Military housing is one of the most important and frequently overlooked aspects of military life. The living situation for those who serve, and their families is something we shouldn’t take lightly, and it is important that after all they do protecting our country they have somewhere safe and comfortable to go back to. This includes the living situations for family members when serving overseas.
The majority of military housing falls short of meeting the needs of military members and their families. Furthermore, there are also various misconceptions about what should be provided for service members, which can create some confusion about what should and could be done to improve the existing housing situation.
It’s important to raise awareness of the issues some accommodation face like mould and dampness which is making people in the household ill, broken boilers meaning houses are going cold during the winter season and even some locations having pests that make it uncomfortable to sleep in their own rooms.
But it’s more than just making a list of issues to complain about, we need to make sure we are sharing ways to improve these problems and to get these households the help they need. There’s only so many times they can call the same number and get no response, so we need to push for better ways for these places to get the attention they need.
Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary, has been trying to push through a variety of allowances to make the living situation for Forces families easier to handle whilst being in contact with Amey and VIVO to ensure they are providing the best maintenance services they can.
"We are reviewing over 40 allowances to provide you with more flexibility in working arrangements to support different home circumstances. In response to rising fuel prices, a 7% uplift has been applied to commuting allowances from 1 August.”
"To support our overseas personnel, a review into Get You Home (Overseas) is currently ongoing; our aim is that rates will become more reactive to current costs borne by personnel.”
"However, we know that we don't always get things right and that many of you are experiencing problems with your accommodation. It is, therefore, a high priority for myself and the ministerial team to address this unacceptable situation.”
"In September, Defence Infrastructure Organisation tasked each supplier to introduce a robust rectification plan, owned at Board level, to set out how it will rapidly bring performance up to acceptable levels, and progress is being actively tracked."
A conversation about creating a housing association specifically for military accommodation to allow for a more streamlined and effective service when it comes to the maintenance of these houses. This would allow for a more direct service that wouldn’t rely on external contractors who aren’t always able to provide a consistent service. A project like this would require enough members and funding to ensure all of those involved get the right service and compensation.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) issued a statement, saying:
"We have a robust plan in place to deal with damp and mould, backed by £73m this financial year, and we do not allow the allocation of a home while it has this problem."
We believe this will be resolved and the standards of these home will improve as long as we all do our part to support serving members and their families.
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