NFFE Secures Housing Refunds for Forest Service Employee Renters


Contact: Matt Dorsey
Phone: 202-550-6987

June 15, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) is pleased to announce that through the union’s advocacy and sharing of member concerns, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will be refunding GS-10 and below employees who are renting USFS-owned housing by 50% of the cost of rent, plus an additional allowance of up to 15% for tax offset implications, retroactive to March 10, 2024. GS-11 through GS-13 employees will receive a 10% rent refund plus the 15% tax allowance. The agency will also be investing additional funds to address the deferred maintenance backlog and improve the condition of Forest Service owned housing.

“Over the past few years, we have been working to address the housing crisis within the Forest Service,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “Forest Service employees deserve to have a safe, affordable, and reliable place to live, but many do not. As the cost of living has soared in desirable locations near our National Forests, USFS employees have been priced out, especially when considering many earn substandard wages. In places where USFS housing is available, it is often dilapidated, dangerous, and costly, requiring employees to make repairs on their own with money from their own pockets. Today, we have taken an incredibly significant step toward solving this issue.”

The Forest Service’s announcement today estimates that the refund program will affect approximately 5,500 employees, 99% of whom are at the GS-10 level and below. The Forest Service is also exploring options to provide housing relief for those renting from private housing providers in high cost of living areas. NFFE and Forest Service Council leadership will continue to advocate for adjustments to outdated Office of Management and Budget policies that block agencies from offering rent relief on a broader scale. The new NFFE-USFS Master Agreement will also include a revamped Housing and Quarters Article with updated and new provisions that protect and expand the rights of employees living in government quarters.

“Thank you to Chief Moore, Under Secretary Wilkes, and many other critical agency staff members for following through on your commitment to the men and women working for the Forest Service,” continued Erwin. “NFFE members across the country have relayed hundreds of dismal housing pictures, videos, and stories straight to agency leadership, who responded in a truly impactful manner. I look forward to working with Forest Service leadership to ensure that all employees have access to affordable and suitable living options moving forward.”