Privatized Housing Invades America's Military Bases

Gone are the days of drab cinderblock housing for America's military families. Taking advantage of an initiative passed by Congress in 1996, today's privatized military housing developments are larger and packed with modern amenities.

McGuire-Fort Dix-Lakehurst joint base is following a national trend among military bases by taking the opportunity to update and renovate their on-base housing stock. And the top end of the housing being built could give McMansions a run for their money. As Jill P. Capuzzo, of The New York Times reports, at around 4,500-square-feet, complete with "four bedrooms, a three-car garage, arched ceilings, a wet bar, an enclosed sunroom and a patio with a built-in barbecue pit," homes for generals are quite sizable, with numerous amenities.

Enabling this redevelopment is the 1996 Military Housing Privatization Initiative, allowing private developers access to upgrade military housing stock. As Capuzzo reports, "[u]nder the the initiative's rules, the developers build or renovate military homes, which they own and rent out to military personnel, and continue to manage and maintain for the next 50 years. As of February 2012, there were 105 of these privatized housing projects nationwide, with a total 191,905 homes, according to the Department of Defense."

At the McGuire-Fort Dix development, the new housing has been a boon to military families with "nearly 95 percent of the housing" occupied by military members and their families. A waiting list of up to a year remains for some of the newly-constructed homes.

Full Story: A Long Way From Cinderblock

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