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Training & Education Command (TECOM)

 

Training & Education Command (TECOM)

United States Marine Corps

Corps tightens housing policy

By Sgt. Cristina N. Porras | | August 12, 2011

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Effective immediately, the Marine Corps will strictly limit approval of Basic Allowance for Housing for unmarried Marines in pay grades E-5 and below without dependents.

Marine Administrative Message 429/11, released July 29, reinforces the regulations already set forth governing the approval of BAH for single Marines. The message also orders an immediate freeze on all new and pending requests for BAH for single sergeants and below.

“This is not a new policy,” said 1st Lt. Gloria K. Chiu, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego G-4 operations officer. “What MarAdmin 429/11 does is reinforce that the approval for (single Marines’) BAH is at the discretion of unit commanders and is subject to the approval of installation commanders.”

Over the years, Corpswide Bachelor Enlisted Quarters deficits have resulted in an increase of single Marines receiving BAH and living off base.

According to the MarAdmin, quality of living standards across the Marine Corps has increased significantly through investments made possible under the 2006 BEQ Campaign Plan.

Under the plan, barracks arrangements are to follow the 2+0 standard, meaning no more than two Marines share a room, and those two share a bathroom. Noncommissioned officers rate a private room with at least 180 square feet per person and share a bathroom with no more than one other person.

Because housing is available under these standards, installation commanders will only consider requests for BAH when BEQ occupancy rate is at 95 percent or greater in order to ensure government resources are being used appropriately.

According to Chiu, the BEQ aboard MCRD are currently at a 47 percent occupancy rate.

“What it comes down to is that we have barracks, and we’re going to use them,” said Chiu.

When barracks are below the maximum occupancy rate, commanders will only make exceptions for Marines with extraordinary circumstances. For example, Marines with custody of a child may qualify as an exception.

“Not all BAH packages will be denied,” said Chiu. “It really is a case-by-case basis; if the Marine can show that he (or) she is legitimately trying to do the right thing when applying under extraordinary circumstances, then it is quite possible that the unit commander may approve that package. We are simply doing a better job of filtering for the difference.”

Single Marines already receiving BAH will not have it taken away from them. However, upon moving to a new duty station that is not at maximum BEQ occupancy rate, single Marines who previously rated BAH will forfeit that allowance and reside in the barracks.

The installation commander may authorize funding for non-temporary storage of the Marine’s household goods. Stricter implementation of these guidelines is also meant to increase noncommissioned officer presence in the barracks to provide mentorship and leadership.

“The intent of MARADMIN 429/11 is to optimize use of unaccompanied personnel housing facilities across the force,” said Chiu. “It will also help enforce a goal in the BEQ Campaign Plan to put sergeants back into the barracks to reinstate good order and discipline that has been lacking in their absence.”


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