Family Housing:

DOD Procedures To Identify Housing Needs Can Be Improved

NSIAD-87-110: Published: Jul 22, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 1987.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) family housing survey process to determine whether the survey produced accurate and reliable information.

GAO found that: (1) the survey results did not accurately reflect the need for additional military-controlled housing, since several procedures and practices limited the accuracy and reliability of housing estimates; (2) one European installation inflated its need for new housing by about 200 percent; and (3) the annual survey may be unnecessary for installations in the Pacific, since housing officials declared all off-base housing unsuitable. GAO also found that the Defense Housing Office is: (1) formulating a new survey methodology to replace the current housing survey process; and (2) testing the new methodology at some installations to determine if it will provide a more accurate determination of housing needs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The new DOD draft regulation stipulates that the ratio be calculated the way GAO recommended. DOD implemented the GAO suggestion on a new way to compute MFS ratio.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Defense Housing Office to redefine the military fair-share (MFS) ratio as the number of military renters divided by the total number of renters in the community.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation and will not take any action to implement it or change its policy. Further effort by GAO is not warranted.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Defense Housing Office to redefine available housing to include the percentage of for-sale housing based on the ratio of military homeowners to total homeowners in the community.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD is reviewing the use of various percentages and will review each future case on its own merits. DOD instructions have been processed to implement this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Defense Housing Office to assess the percentages used to calculate programming limits in Europe and make sure they are consistent with the Housing Office instructions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOD draft regulation leaves the decision to the base commander as to whether to use Housing Office records or the survey. DOD instruction allows the local commander to make a decision of whether to use the survey based on the situation at the base location.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Defense Housing Office to eliminate the use of the housing survey where housing office records can be used instead, or where the survey is not needed to identify the suitability of housing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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