BAH Data Collection
In computing BAH, DoD includes local price data for rental housing and utilities (including electricity, heating fuel, water, & sewer). Data is collected from a wide variety of sources to ensure an accurate rate calculation. The goal is to attain a 95% statistical confidence that the estimated median rent is within 10% of the true median rent in the local market.
Data is collected annually for approximately 300 military housing areas (MHAs) in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. DoD and the Services define these MHAs by sets of ZIP Codes. Nation-wide data collection occurs during peak PCS season in the spring and summer when housing markets are most active. Rental costs are collected for apartments, townhouses/duplexes, and single-family rental units of varying bedroom sizes. The different types of units are referred to as “housing profiles” and their rental costs are then linked with particular pay grades.
DoD relies in part on the local military housing office (MHO) and command leadership at each installation to contribute to the BAH data collection effort. Housing referral offices and installation leadership have the opportunity to provide local rental housing referrals, review rental properties, and if necessary, flag any properties deemed unsuitable for inclusion.
MHO Training & Data Collection Workshops
Each year, the Defense Travel Management Office conducts four one-day BAH workshop sessions for Military Housing Office (MHO) points of contact (MHO staff and other data collectors). The training provides a working knowledge of the housing allowance, explains the data collection process, identifies and highlights the reporting requirements and the essential role that the housing offices play in the allowance setting process. The housing area coordinators are trained to conduct annual data collection and to submit accurate and complete data sets.
The primary, and secondary, point of contact for each Military Housing Area (MHA) should attend one training session each year. While it is especially important for new personnel to attend training, repeat attendance from year to year is encouraged.
Training is conducted throughout the United States in March and April for appointed military housing officers. Training dates and locations are published on the data collection website [login required].