ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — The housing market nationwide is still competitive and that is creating a shortage of affordable homes for military families who want to live off base.
And that's a problem in Warner Robins and many other military towns.
Some might say housing is a hot topic near Robins Air Force Base.
"I've seen just on social media groups," Chambers said.
Lindsay Chambers moved her family from California to Warner Robins, two years ago.
"One, looking for a place with lower costs of living; and near the base, in case my husband needed to get a civilian job," Chambers said.
They "got out of" active duty in February 2020, but then they had a hard time finding a place to live.
"When we bought in Spring of '21, there were 13 offers on the house. We bought and there was definitely a completive market," Chambers said.
According to the Military Officers Association of America, Congress changed the Basic Allowance for Housing in 2015.
It now covers 95 percent of estimated housing costs, rather than 100 percent.
"We need to restore that allowance," Warnock said.
According to U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock's office, making those families pay 5% of housing has become an issue in Warner Robins.
"It's clear to me that folks in the Warner Robins area are finding housing to be unaffordable. This has been a problem for a long time; and we want to make sure our military families are comfortable as they send their children to school; or younger service members who may not even have families, that they can afford housing in the area," Warnock said.
Warnock is pushing the Basic Allowance for Housing Restoration Act to restore the full payment.
"Then, we need a realistic algorithm for how it keeps up with inflation," Warnock said. "Georgia is a military state. I am very proud of our service members, all across our state, including Robins Air Force Base; and I am very proud of our veterans who have already served. We've got to make sure that we take care of them. They've been taking care of us."
"We definitely have an affordability problem with the rental market within our city limits; and I am sure it spills over into Houston County unincorporated, the City of Centerville, and also the City of Perry, but those challenges, definitely not having enough housing stock and then having too expensive of a market and such a large demand, it truly is a challenge," Hogan said.
City Development Director Kate Hogan says developers now plan 3,600 new, multi-family units by 2025, in 17 different projects.
"We are seeing that the demand is definitely there and largely due in part to the Air Force Base and their housing needs," Hogan said.
She says, 90 of the 3,600 new units will be for workforce housing, "rental rates that are just a little more affordable."
"I think the City of Warner Robins has a unique challenge due to the Robins Air Force Base, which is great. We've got the demand for housing. We've got a robust population, great diversity, but we need to find a way to ensure that we've got affordability for our current housing market and that we have availability," Hogan said.
"Seems like it's a good plan. There is definitely people always looking off base to live, especially when the housing, on-base housing is backed up, which any base we've lived at--is. When that's not available, people look elsewhere," Chambers said.
According to the 2010 Census, most Warner Robins families then owned their own homes, about 60 percent.
But by 2020, the Census said, the city was 50-50, half homeowners and half renters.