by Robin Kemp

A bipartisan effort between Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) could help more teachers and first responders become homeowners.

The Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder (HELPER) Act of 2021 would create a new, one-time use FHA home loan program for police officers, fire fighters, medical first responders, and teachers.

The bill would offer zero down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance premium, as long as the borrower uses the house as their primary residence. Those upfront costs can keep some people from becoming homeowners.

Borrowers would have to have been employed full-time for at least four years in their profession (or retired due to a service-related injury from that profession).

“With this bipartisan bill, I’m working across the aisle to support Georgia’s teachers, first responders, and police officers by making home ownership more affordable for public servants who teach our kids and protect our families,” Ossoff said.

Rubio added, “First responders and teachers work tirelessly to serve our communities, and they have faced incredibly difficult circumstances over the past two years. As housing prices continue to skyrocket, our bill would help ensure that teachers and first responders can own a home in the communities they dutifully serve.”

On the House side, Reps. John Rutherford (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and John Katko (R-NY) have introduced companion legislation.

The bill comes after a Banking Committee hearing in which Ossoff got Biden Administration nominees for Housing and Urban Development to commit to visit cities across Georgia and to collaborate on increasing the available housing supply for buyers and renters.

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