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Posts Tagged ‘Military Families’

DOD Budget Looks for Savings in Quality-of-Life Benefits

  • February 3, 2015
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The president’s fiscal 2016 budget request released Monday reprises cost-savings reforms to commissary benefits and the basic allowance for housing (BAH) from the previous year’s request, with some tweaks. The proposal would continue the Pentagon’s effort to slow the growth in BAH by requiring service members to pay an additional 4 percent in out-of-pocket costs over the next two to three years. The change, which comes on top of a 1 percent reduction in BAH approved by Congress for FY 2015, would save DOD $400 million in FY 2016 and $3.9 billion over the next five years …

Joints Chiefs Urge New Veterans to Support Their Communities

  • February 3, 2015
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Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with the remainder of the Joint Chiefs yesterday signed a letter urging separating personnel to continue serving the nation as civilians in their communities and in their new careers. “We trust that you will accept this challenge and join ranks with the business leaders, volunteers, and public servants in your communities. You have made your mark in uniform and represent the strength of our nation,” said the letter, which will go to all transitioning service members …

California Schools Left behind in Effort to Upgrade Facilities at Military Bases

  • February 1, 2015
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California has more schools than any other state on the Pentagon’s list of on-base public schools most in need of repair, but in most cases the local school districts lack the matching funds to take advantage of congressional funding intended to address the problem. Congress has allocated almost a billion dollars in recent years to upgrade facilities or expand capacity at public schools on military installations, reported the Los Angeles Times. The grants, however, require school systems or their states to fund 20 percent of the projects’ cost. The Muroc Joint Unified School District would like to make a variety of repairs to its elementary school on Edwards AFB costing $27.8 million but so far hasn’t been able to raise the matching funds …

Commission Urges Retaining Commissaries, Improving Quality-of-Life Programs

  • January 30, 2015
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The final report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission devoted seven of its 15 recommendations to changes benefitting quality of life for service members and their families, including several that go beyond a strict definition of pay and benefits. Two recommendations that had not been previously revealed would bolster service members’ transition to civilian life and better support military children …

Commission Recommendations to Benefit Military Families

  • January 28, 2015
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Several recommendations from the congressionally established commission reviewing military compensation are expected to support military families, according to sources familiar with the final report. The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission will recommend DOD build more child development centers on installations, a response to military families’ long-standing complaints about the lack of sufficient child care, reported Military Times. The commission reportedly will call for preserving existing commissary benefits, including selling items at cost plus a 5 percent surcharge …

Change in Housing Allowance Applies to Families Living On-, Off-Base

  • January 27, 2015
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Military families living in on-base privatized housing as well as those living off base will be affected by Congress’ move to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs. The change, enacted as part of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, means that families moving into privatized housing will pay rent that is one percent higher than their BAH. “The basic premise is that whatever is happening to everybody in town, whatever added burden they’re bearing whether it’s one percent [of average rental costs] out of pocket or absent renter’s insurance, then people on base will bear the same burden …

FY’16 Budget May Propose Ending Requirement for Commissary Goods to Be Discounted

  • January 26, 2015
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The Pentagon is considering requesting Congress eliminate the requirement that commissary items be sold “at reduced cost,” as part of a package of fiscal 2016 budget proposals intended to reduce the cost of operating military grocery stores. The legislative change would be far-reaching and could end the commissary benefit for military families, reported the Navy Times. Commissaries now offer military families an average savings of about 30 percent over off-base groceries. Eliminating the requirement would help the Defense Commissary Agency meet a DOD mandate to identify $322 million in annual savings. Such a change, however, would result in DOD operating its commissaries closer to the way its exchanges are run …

New Guidelines to Improve Access to Installations for Troop Support Nonprofits

  • January 20, 2015
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Nonprofits providing support to military personnel and their families should find it easier to gain access to installations, under a memo recently issued by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The memo emphasizes the importance of relationships with military support organizations and directs senior military leaders and installation commanders to implement uniform procedures to ease access for those groups, reported DOD News. Hagel said he is “directing installation commanders to be welcoming and supportive. … Consistent with mission requirements and security constraints, installation commanders are to provide even/support-driven access, support, collaboration, available space and certain logistical support to those organizations …

Louisville Mayor Prescribes Comprehensive Plan to End Veteran Homelessness

  • January 19, 2015
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Louisville, Ky., is in the midst of a far-reaching effort to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year. Fifteen local agencies already have raised $10 million for the initiative, which calls for substance abuse counseling, debt management, funding for housing needs and many other services to help homeless veterans get back on their feet, reported WDRB. Mayor Greg Fischer believes the effort will find permanent housing for 360 homeless veterans. The initiative, Rx: Housing Veterans, is part of the national campaign to end veteran homelessness called Zero 2016. “It’s not just a hand-out but a hand-up to a better quality of life, a better way of life and you know what? It’s just the right thing to do,” said Kentucky Veterans Affairs Commissioner Heather French Henry. “They served us; it’s time for us to serve them.”

New Orleans Goes Extra Step in Ending Veteran Homelessness

  • January 13, 2015
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New Orleans has ended veteran homelessness altogether, going a step beyond other major cities that have only ended chronic homelessness among veterans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Last July, Landrieu pledged that the city would find homes for all veterans living on the streets, a figure estimated at 193, reported the Independent. Last week, the mayor announced the city had found housing for 227 homeless veterans. More than 300 local, county and state officials have joined a White House initiative to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, with several already declaring victory, including Phoenix and Salt Lake City …

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