McDermott pledges congressional action to stabilize Hawaii Housing costs
News Release from McDermott Campaign, September 12, 2022
State Representative McDermott announced today that as a US Senator he will seek to compel the DOD via statue to build all the base housing they need (approximately 40k units) for their servicemembers’ families on base in Hawaii; thereby reducing the continuous upward inflationary pressure and competition for the finite number of homes available for rent/purchase off base. This not only benefits our civilian community but ensures military families will have suitable accommodations as well.
Done over the course of several years, this would have a remarkable impact on the cost of housing by blunting the relentless upward pressure regardless of global economic conditions. Home prices will stabilize as the market achieves a new equilibrium. As your US Senator I will put this statue into Law with the target of 20k housing units built on base due upon completion within my first term.
McDermott said, Nationally, about 30% of military personnel live on base and about 70% choose to live off base. Hawaii has about 17,000 on base military housing units, 47k thousand units are rented to the military off base. Many of those units available need repair and not up to the standards of families.
How long is the wait for military housing in Hawaii? It depends. The average wait time for enlisted families range from immediate to one month; Officer housing, due to its limited availability and demand, average wait time can be up to the duration of TLA maximum allowable time of 60 days after arrival.
Our local families are extraordinarily challenged when competing with military families for available units. For example, a new private, enlisted (E-1) not only earns his base pay (universally the same for all ranks/grades) but also entitled to a housing allowance if married. The housing allowance is designed to accommodate all service members for changes in inflation and geography. Basic allowance for Housing (BAH) is tax free, an E01 a new Private with 4 months experience gets $2,670 with Dependents plus base pay, plus food (BAS).
This means that we have young military people being able to rent/purchase town houses, using tax free money specifically designed to offset the high cost. This unfairly pits them against their civilian peers who get no “extra” money to pay for their housing. So local families are the unintended casualty to provide enough housing to our military families.
While some other areas have higher costs of living and higher BAH, their respective markets and not impacted due to the large population centers. Conversely, Hawaii is small population with a relatively large military footprint; the BAH greatly impacts and distorts our housing market tremendously.
We need to listen to local people and stabilize our Housing Market. The native Hawaiians are suffering on a waiting list, local families are forced to live with minimum of two likely three generations under on one roof. This hardship is real. This is a solution that CAN be done. If we can leave 85 billion worth of equipment in Afghanistan and Give Ukraine 2.6 BILLION in aid, then we can do this! Only an old Marine is going to be able to get this done as it requires credibility and expertise on Military issues.