The Defense Department is working to improve its military housing privatization initiative, or MHPI.

Patricia Coury, of the Office of Secretary of Defense, testified Thursday at a virtual meeting of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies hearing.

Coury says the department is resourced to provide safe, quality, well-maintained housing where military members and their families will want to live. 

The military services have hired more than 600 additional housing personnel to provide enhanced, quality assurance, customer care services and advocacy for residents.

The department has also significantly enhanced the MHPI program and oversight of the private sector companies which own, operate and maintain privatized housing projects. 

The Department of Defense is focused on five program oversight areas:

•Senior leader engagement to collaborate internally and within MHPI companies on housing issues and necessary corrective actions.

•Rebuilding trust with the military families and military members.

•Providing accountability at all levels within DOD and by MHPI companies to perform oversight as originally intended at the outset of housing privatization.

•Providing transparency and communications to tenants and the department. 

•Ensuring the long-term financial viability of the MHPI projects and program. 

The department issued a revised MHPI tenant bill of rights on August 1. This now includes all 18 rights, Coury said.

While the department continues to pursue agreements with the MHPI companies at the five remaining installations, nearly 96 percent of the military families who reside in privatized housing have access to all 18 rights.

In addition to issuing the revised Tenant Bill of Rights, Coury said the DOD has taken other actions to improve oversight. These include:

•Implementing departmentwide quarterly programmatic reviews.

•Establishing new DOD uniform housing standard and inspection requirements.

•Working with private-sector MHPI companies to accelerate project investment to renovate or construct new housing units and improve the condition of existing privatized housing.