Thompson’s bill would hold DOD accountable for subpar military housing

U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) recently unveiled bipartisan legislation that would task the U.S. Defense Secretary with developing a feedback tool, such as a rating system or similar mechanism, that members of the United States Armed Forces and their spouses could use to identify, rate and compare housing overseen by the Department of Defense (DOD).

“Our bill will provide the tools needed to increase transparency and oversight, with the goal of fixing a system plagued with issues,” said Rep. Thompson, who sponsored the Military Housing Transparency and Accountability Act, H.R. 7144, with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA).

The tool required under an enacted H.R. 7144 would include the capability for users to anonymously rate housing using multiple quality measures, including safety, the timeliness and quality of maintenance services, and the responsiveness of management; to upload visual media, including images; and to include written comments, according to the bill’s text. 

“As an Army dad, I believe our service members and their families deserve to have safe and comfortable housing,” Rep. Thompson said on March 18. “They should feel confident that if an issue arises, it will be resolved in a timely manner.”

Additionally, a comparison feature would be included that could be used to compare ratings for different housing communities, the text says, noting that in addition to members of the Armed Forces and their family members, the tool would be accessible to members of Congress. 

“Having safe and functional housing is a key promise that we make to our service members and military families, but too often I hear stories of military housing not meeting those standards,” said Rep. Carbajal. “As a veteran, I know the importance of our service members having ways to report these subpar conditions. This bipartisan bill would raise the bar for our military housing.”

The bill has been endorsed by the Military Coalition, which includes 35 organizations, such as the Air Force Association, AMVETS, the Association of the United States Army, the Association of the United States Navy, the Blinded Veterans Association, the Fleet Reserve Association, the Marine Corps League, the Military Officers Association of America, the National Military Family Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Wounded Warrior Project.