Senators Reverend Warnock, Ossoff Revive Legislation to Help First-Time, First-Generation Homebuyers

Senators Reverend Warnock, Ossoff joined a group of their colleagues to reintroduce legislation that will help strengthen housing access for working people, help working families build generational wealth

The LIFT Homebuyers Act establishes a new federal program to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers – disproportionately Americans of color – accelerate wealth-building through homeownership

Senator Reverend Warnock: “I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing the LIFT Act to help put the dream of homeownership in reach for working families in Georgia and nationwide, boosting our economy and helping provide families safety and security”

Senator Ossoff: “This is about helping first-time homebuyers pay down their mortgages and build wealth in their homes more quickly”

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) joined by a group of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, introduced bicameral legislation to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers, the majority of which are Americans of color, purchase a home and build generational wealth. By offering new homeowners a 20-year mortgage for roughly the same monthly payment as a traditional 30-year loan, the Low-Income First Time Homebuyers (LIFT) Act will allow individuals traditionally underrepresented in the housing market to purchase their first home and grow equity twice as fast. Along with Senators Warnock and Ossoff, the legislation was introduced by U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

“Housing is dignity and security for hardworking families in Georgia and across the nation, and owning a home is a long-held pathway to building generational wealth. But too many families in Georgia and across the country have been left out of the American dream of buying a home, and Congress should act to make it a reality for more people,” said Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock.“I’m proud to reintroduce the LIFT Homebuyers Act to help put the dream of homeownership in reach for working families in Georgia and nationwide, boosting our economy and helping provide families safety and security. Let’s get this done.”

“This is about helping first-time homebuyers pay down their mortgages and build wealth in their homes more quickly,” said Senator Ossoff. “I’m teaming up with Senator Reverend Warnock to help low-income Georgians and first-time homebuyers build generational wealth.”

First introduced in 2021, the LIFT Homebuyers Act would establish a program at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), to sponsor low fixed-rate 20-year mortgages for first-time, first-generation homebuyers who have incomes equal to or less than 120 percent of their area median income. Treasury would subsidize the interest rate and origination fees associated with these 20-year mortgages so that the monthly payment would be in line with a 30-year Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgage. 

By allowing borrowers to build equity through their homes at twice the rate of a comparable 30-year loan without meaningfully increasing the monthly payment, the LIFT Homebuyers Act will strengthen housing access and improve the power of homeownership for millions of families. Additionally, coupled with well-targeted down-payment assistance, the program will make meaningful progress toward closing the racial wealth gap, expanding and greatly strengthening the wealth-building benefits of homeownership in communities too long left behind by our existing financial structures.

Senator Reverend Warnock has long championed efforts to lower housing costs and strengthen housing access for Georgian families. In July 2022, Senator Warnock introduced a legislative package that aimed to help servicemembers across Georgia and nationwide obtain affordable and quality housing. Shortly after, in August 2022, Senator Reverend Warnock unveiled legislation to lower housing costs and help working-class homebuyers. Senator Warnock continued his work to secure housing for all Georgians, working with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R- AK) to introduce the newly-bipartisan Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Restoration Act earlier this year—legislation that will help servicemembers and their families make ends meet by restoring the full BAH benefit. Additionally, in February, Senators Warnock and Ossoff also announced that they secured more than $78 million in federal housing investments for Georgia. 

Senator Ossoff is continuing his work to ensure all Georgians can achieve homeownership. Earlier this month, Sen. Ossoff launched an inquiry with some of the largest rental housing providers to help renters have better opportunities at building credit and becoming homeowners. Earlier this year, Sen. Ossoff introduced the bipartisan HELPER Act alongside Sen. Rubio (R-FL) to help first responders, teachers and law enforcement officers to buy their first home. Last year, Sen. Ossoff also pushed the Federal Housing Finance Agency to address the inadequate supply of affordable housing across rural Georgia.

This legislation has the support of a number of organizations, including the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), and the Center for Responsible Lending.

Read the full text of the legislation HERE. See a summary HERE