Lawmakers ask DOD to hike housing pay for 122nd members

WASHINGTON (WANE) U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young along with U.S. Rep. Jim Banks have asked the Department of Defense to consider increasing the housing allowances paid to members of Fort Wayne’s 122nd Fighter Wing.

In a letter to Defense Travel Management Office Director William Mansell Jr. on Thursday, the lawmakers said the monthly allowance paid to the more than 200 servicemembers on active duty, including full-time members of the National Guard and Reserves, to help cover the cost of living in off-base housing was below the current housing allowance rates in the Fort Wayne area. In their letter, the senators and congressman cited reports that insufficient information was submitted in 2017 to the Defense Travel Management Office, the Department of Defense agency responsible for setting BAH rates nationally, and that the Fort Wayne area has experienced significant development that could affect BAH rates.

“It has come to our attention that data informing the current housing allowance rates in the Fort Wayne area do not accurately reflect current housing costs to more than 200 Hoosier servicemembers and their families,” Donnelly, Young, Banks wrote in the letter.

READ | Full letter to DOD

“Based on the information we have seen, we believe it is imperative that you promptly reevaluate the housing allowance rates for the Fort Wayne area in line with applicable U.S. law and public policy… We have every confidence that as a veteran and dedicated civil servant yourself, you are committed to the goal of ensuring servicemembers receive fair compensation and benefits in return for all they sacrifice for our nation.”

The letter highlights concerns about past and current housing allowance rates and urges the Defense Travel Management Office to work with the 122nd Fighter Wing to review the data and consider raising rates if appropriate. It also highlights that the 122nd Fighter Wing leadership was not appropriately consulted as their basic allowance for housing was being calculated.

The lawmakers said the issue could affect National Guard and Reserve bases nationwide.

The letter urged the travel office to send guidance throughout its organization to ensure its personnel are appropriately consulting local National Guard and Reserve unit leadership as basic housing allowance rates are determined.