SAN DIEGO — Some active-duty servicemembers will get a boost in their housing allowance beginning this month and lasting through Dec. 31, 2022.

The Department of Defense announced an increase to the Basic Allowance for Housing to several military locations, including San Diego. The BAH is an allowance to offset the cost of housing when you do not receive government-provided housing.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced measures to, “strengthen the economic security and stability of service members and their families.”

One measure includes automatically raising the BAH for active duty service members in 28 military housing areas that saw an average increase of more than 20% in rent costs this year. San Diego is one of the 28 identified. The others are: Vandenberg AFB, CA; Twenty Nine Palms MCB, CA; San Diego, CA; Dover AFB/ Rehoboth, DE; Patrick AFB, FL; Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL; Orlando, FL; West Palm Beach, FL; Volusia County, FL; Fort Myers Beach, FL; Kings Bay/Brunswick, GA; Maui County, HI; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Cape Cod – Plymouth, MA; Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Brunswick, ME; Coastal Maine, ME; Fort Leonard Wood, MO; Helena, MT; Wilmington, NC; Northern New Jersey, NJ; Newport, RI; Providence, RI; Beaufort/Parris Island, SC; Knoxville, TN; Houston, TX; Quantico/Woodbridge, VA.

Secretary Austin also directed the Department of Defense to review the 2023 BAH tables to make sure the figures are reflective of the “unusually dynamic fluctuations in the housing market.”

“This is a real recognition that rent has far outpaced benefits in certain places across the country,” Marine Corps Veteran and CEO of VetVoice Foundation Janessa Goldbeck said. “When I was stationed at MCRD San Diego, we had Marines and sailors who were commuting all the way down from places like Rainbow.”

Goldbeck said she has never seen a rent relief in the military like this one and said it is a great band-aid for servicemembers, but said San Diego needs to address the bigger problem.

“The long-term solution is to build more housing and we need to do that immediately and aggressively,” Goldbeck said. “This is a real problem and its impacting servicemembers and their families, and I hope that they will be able to work with congress to find the funding to continue this and take care of our Marine, sailors and Coast Guard folks locally.”

The DOD also announced they plan to cut prices at the commissaries to help families save at least 25% on grocery bills.

“Our just basic grocery bill has jumped from being like $250 every two weeks to being 4-500 every two weeks,” said Desiree, who lives in military housing.

Desiree said she shops exclusively at the commissaries, but has still seen an increase in grocery costs during inflation. Since her family, with four kids, live in military housing, she says doesn’t qualify for the rent relief.

“Military housing isn’t technically the military, so the military is trying to help us and then military housing just takes it anyways,” Desiree added.

She said the relief would have been about an extra $1,000 per month, for the next three months. She says it would have made a big difference in their family’s budget, but was disappointed to learn she did not qualify since she lives in military housing.

“It would have made things so much less stressful when right now we are wondering how we are going to celebrate birthdays and plan a sufficient Christmas for our kids, because we’re using credit cards to pay groceries right now,” Desiree said.

Depending on if the servicemember has dependents, the temporary BAH increase ranges from several hundred dollars to more than $1,000.