Safe Military Housing Initiative, is a nonprofit, 501c3 nonpartisan organization that is comprised of active duty, National Guard, Reserve and retired military spouses representing the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard. We support all ranks, branches and components of the all-volunteer force including their family members. We promote oversight and accountability, working hand and hand with all internal and external stakeholders, to ensure the health and safety of military homes and surrounding installation communities meet mission readiness. We recognize that the current condition of military housing directly affects retention, recruitment, readiness and resiliency of our military and their families.
SMHI advocates act as liaisons on behalf of military families to engage with and resolve housing concerns with private landlords and installation housing offices.
SMHI works to maintain open lines of communication between military families and other stakeholders. Our goal is to work together to ensure military families live in safe and healthy homes.
Privatized Housing is a public/private venture (PPV) whereby privately held companies enter into a partnership with the federal government to build and maintain military housing. See the Military Housing Privatization Initiative for more information.
1. Report housing concerns to your landlord as soon as possible and request the assistance or maintenance needed.
2. If your housing concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction by your landlord, inform the Housing Office at your military installation.
3. If your housing concerns remain unresolved after reporting them to both your landlord and installation Housing Office, we at Safe Military Housing Initiative (SMHI) would like to hear from you. Please fill out the contact form on this site or connect with us on Facebook to let us know about your housing concerns. Shortly after SMHI hears from you, a representative of SMHI will contact you to learn more and determine if SMHI can help.
At the same time, you may also want to consider letting the service member’s chain of command know if your housing concerns remain unresolved after you have reported them to both your landlord and installation Housing Office.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family from potential intimidation or retaliation is to keep accurate and thorough records. If any instance of intimidation or retaliation occurs, your records or documentation of the specific housing issue(s) reported and your prompt, polite and consistent efforts to report and resolve them can help to protect you and your family. SMHI recommends:
1. Promptly report housing concerns to your landlord. By promptly reporting housing concerns to your landlord, you demonstrate that you are a responsible tenant who expects equally prompt responses. Any unnecessary delay in reporting housing concerns, especially those that involve water leaks, water damage, mold and/or potentially related health effects, could potentially cause or contribute to further damage or harm.
2. Document housing concerns in photos/videos. Take and maintain photos and/or videos of the subject of your housing concerns for future reference, if needed.
3. Email, when possible. By communicating with representatives of your landlord and/or the installation Housing Office, you create written, time and date-stamped documentation of your prompt, polite and diligent efforts to report and resolve housing concerns.
4. Take notes during phone calls and/or send follow up emails. If possible, take notes during any phone calls with representatives of your landlord, installation Housing Office or otherwise, to document communications that discuss your housing concerns. Be sure to notate the name of the persons you talked with, the time and date of each phone call and any important details discussed. If it’s not possible to take notes during a call, ask for the person’s email address and when possible, send them a follow up email that thanks them for the call and/or summarizes important details discussed.
5. Be polite and honest in all communications. Keep in mind that you are not the only person documenting these issues and communications. Although frustration or even anger may be appropriate or even provoked at times, it is best to maintain a calm and polite demeanor at all times. If a tenant yells, curses or is rude to a representative of their landlord or installation Housing Office it could certainly cause more problems for the tenant and potentially their family. Do not let yourself fall victim to any provocation that could hurt your situation. Documentation of your prompt, polite and honest efforts to report and resolve your housing concerns will help to protect you and your family, if needed.
Leadership of the military services and their private housing partners are working together to develop a Resident Bill of Rights. You can learn more about the proposed Resident Bill of Rights by clicking here to read Subtitle B-Military Family Housing Reforms of H.R.2500 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. Once in place, the proposed Resident Bill of Rights intends to mitigate some of the serious housing problems and health hazards commonly reported in privatized military housing.