Senator Reverend Warnock, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help First Responders and Teachers Become Homeowners

For first-time home buyers, saving for a down payment is often the biggest barrier to homeownership

Inflation, rising home prices, and interest rates have made homeownership more difficult for individuals and families who have prioritized public service-oriented careers

Senator Reverend Warnock: “By providing more accessible pathways to homeownership, we not only honor their service but also invest in the strength of our communities.”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) helped lead the introduction of the bipartisan Homes for Every Local Protector Educator and Responder (HELPER) Act to create a first-time homebuyer loan program under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for teachers and first responders who have served at least four years in their respective role.

“Access to homeownership is dwindling for too many Americans, and it is inexcusable that public servants like teachers and first responders can work full-time to educate the next generation and protect our neighborhoods and still not have the opportunity to own their piece of the American Dream,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “This leaves many dedicated public servants resigned to a lifetime of renting, without the stability and security that comes with homeownership. We must acknowledge the struggles they face and take action to ease their burden. By providing more accessible pathways to homeownership, we not only honor their service but also invest in the strength of our communities.”

The HELPER Act would:

·Create a new home loan assistance program administered by the FHA for law enforcement officers, firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and pre-K-12 teachers who have served for at least four years in their respective roles and are first-time home buyers.

·Eliminate a mortgage down payment requirement.

·Eliminate a monthly mortgage insurance premium requirement.

·Include an upfront mortgage insurance premium to help fund the program.

·Allow for a one-time use of the program by eligible individuals.

Joining Senator Warnock in cosponsoring this legislation are Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). U.S. Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)  and John Rutherford (R-FL) reintroduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Senator Warnock has long been a leader in the fight to build more affordable housing and expand access to affordable homeownership. Since joining the Senate, Senator Warnock has worked diligently to address Georgia’s affordable housing crisis. In December 2021, Senator Warnock secured funding to upgrade affordable housing for low-income Georgians in rural areas. Last May, Senator Warnock secured $170 million in federal housing investments for Georgia. In February, Senator Warnock announced he secured $78 million in federal housing investments into Georgia. Additionally, Senator Warnock joined a bipartisan cohort of senators to reintroduce the Choice in Affordable Housing Act, which seeks to improve the federal government’s largest rental assistance program. The recipient of the 2022 Affordable Housing Award from the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association (SAHMA), Senator Warnock also previously introduced robust legislative packages that would lower housing costs and help homebuyers, as well as combat skyrocketing housing costs for military servicemembers and their families, respectively.