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Blunt sponsors bill to help military families with relocations

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Jim Howard
St. Louis Public Radio

Military families would get added flexibility in moving to a new duty station under a bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that he says will provide those families with “geographic stability.”

The measure would provide up to six months of housing assistance in both the current and new locations.  Blunt says that will allow working spouses to maintain an often vital second income while looking for new work or continuing coursework to further their career.  It also allows children to finish their current grade in school.  

Blunt echoed a comment by retired Army General Ray Odierno saying that the strength of the military is in military families. 

“What we’re trying to do with the Military Family Stability Act, is to help make that strength of military even stronger,” Blunt said in a news conference announcing the bill.

At the news conference, Mia Reisweber talked about how she and her military husband had to cover their own expenses for her to move to St. Louis last year, in time for her to start a doctoral study program and a new job when his transfer from Hawaii was delayed. 

She said they could not afford the cost of rent in both Missouri and Hawaii, so her husband slept on a couch at a friend’s home in Hawaii, and she slept on the floor of their newly rented home in St. Louis, with all of their belongings in storage until he arrived more than a month later.

“Six months would allow spouses like me to bring appropriate closure to our professional responsibilities.  Six months is the difference between starting school at the beginning of a semester and attempting to start school in the middle of an academic year,” Reisweber said.

Credit Jim Howard / St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Public Radio
Mia Reisweber, Military Spouse

Reisweber expressed frustration with what she says feels like indifference on the part of the military in its “acknowledgement of me as a professional.  

"The military is failing to acknowledge the strain and instability burdening military families” in moving every two-to-three years, in many cases, she said.

The bill has the backing of at least eight military support organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, National Military Family Association, and The Military Officers Association of America.