Military Get a Housing Raise

Just as rents are plummeting around the country, the Defense Department announced this week that military personnel will get a 2.5 percent raise in their housing allowance in 2010.

What they really probably want is fewer deployments. But an average of $37 more a month for rent, will have to suffice for now.

How much housing allowance are they getting? Lets take a look:

A junior enlisted member with dependents will get about $25 more a month, while a senior non-commissioned officer with dependents will get about $42 more a month. Certainly not enough to upgrade to a house with a swimming pool, or penthouse suite, but not a bad living, either, when you take a look at the per-month allocation.

The military will be doling out an estimated $19 billion in housing allowances to close to 1 million service members in the new year. Each year the Basic Allowance for Housing is adjusted to reflect changes in median market rent, utility cost and renter's insurance. Here's how it breaks down for an E-1, the lowest level enlisted service member, in the following six major U.S. cities.
  • New York = $2,685 with dependents, $2,241 without
  • Dallas = $1,320 with dependents, $990 without
  • Chicago = $1,608 with dependents, $1209 without
  • Los Angles = $1,908 with dependents, $1,458 without
  • Washington, D.C. = $1,794 with dependents, $1,356 without
  • Miami = $1,656 with dependents, $1,311 without

These may sound like high numbers, but taking New York City, for example, certainly a person could find an apartment for less than $2,200 in an outer borough, but the median rent in Manhattan falls within that range. According to The Real Estate Group's Manhattan Rental Market Report 2009, the median rent for a studio apartment with doorman runs $2,294 and a studio without doorman runs $1,913. If the service person wants the luxury of a separate bedroom, the cost in Manhattan rises to $3.319 for a one-bedroom in a doorman building and $2,629 for a one-bedroom in a non-doorman building. (I wonder where the virtual-doormen buildings rank.) So service men and women are far from raking it in. They're simply being paid the true cost of living. Now, can we just get them back to said apartments...
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