From armed battles on the other side of the globe to terrorist attacks on our own soil, America is no stranger to turbulent times. For more than two centuries, we have relied on courageous individuals who rise to the occasion to protect our country and our communities, whether abroad or at home.
This time the enemy is a virus. Over the past 18 months, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and teachers have put their personal health and that of their loved ones on the line so they can serve their communities in the midst of one of the biggest pandemics in the world. story.
Though they continue to show up for others every day, these frontline heroes are being crushed by soaring housing prices, leaving them seemingly without affordable housing options. America’s best are drowning and we can’t leave them behind.
Congresswoman Kat Cammack understands the limitless value first responders and teachers bring to Florida communities. She appreciates the sacrifices they make every day, especially in the face of COVID-19. That’s why she chose to lead as co-sponsor of the Homes Act for Every Local Protector, Educator and Responder (HELPER). This common sense legislation is now supported by more than 50 Republican and Democratic lawmakers from all corners of the country and is desperately needed for the hour in which we now find ourselves.
According to the latest Case-Shiller index, year-over-year home prices recently jumped nearly 20%, with the median price now hitting an all-time high. However, Florida police, firefighters, paramedics and teachers have seen average annual salary growth of just 1% to 3%, leaving this largely forgotten class of first-time buyers essentially shut out of the housing market.
It’s time for these home front heroes, who have continued to serve during the pandemic, to have access to the American Dream of affordable homeownership. The HELPER Act would help make that idea a reality, creating a viable path for frontline workers to create wealth for themselves and a better future for their families.
Originally introduced to the House by Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) and followed since by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Jon Ossoff’s (D-Ga.) companion bill to the Senate, this game-changing law would eliminate down payment requirements and offer 100% financing for single home purchases to buyers who fall into one of the frontline hero categories: police and corrections officers, firefighters, paramedics and paramedics, and K-12 teachers.
The move would mean that if a young firefighter or college teacher wanted to buy a moderately priced home, they would receive a loan to fund the entire purchase price.
Another key measure of the HELPER Act is the elimination of monthly mortgage insurance premium requirements. Under the Federal Housing Administration’s normal system, most homebuyers who cannot afford a 20% down payment must pay a monthly insurance premium and upfront cost. A $200,000 home, for example, would normally require a monthly premium of $140. Under the HELPER law, this additional monthly cost is waived.
Not only does this legislation save homebuyers significant amounts of money, but it would be low risk for the federal government; the loss only occurs if the buyer defaults in foreclosure. Since first responders and teachers are dedicated public servants with stable, often long-lasting jobs, the chances of this happening are slim.
Congresswoman Cammack understands the importance of this moment, and I applaud her for her support in turning this common sense idea into legislative reality. As the National Director of Heroes First Home Loans and a Marine Corps veteran, I know that our first responders and teachers deserve the same access to affordable housing as our veterans. These brave first responders and educators deserve to live in the same communities in which they serve without the excessive financial burdens imposed by soaring housing costs.
These home front heroes have already sacrificed so much and they have earned their share of the American dream. Let’s make sure they get it.
Samuel P. Royer is the National Director of Heroes First Home Loans.
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