Bipartisan bill backed by Georgia Municipal Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Georgia, American Federation of Teachers, Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Association of Police Organizations, and more
Washington, D.C. –– U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is introducing a bipartisan bill to help first responders and teachers become homeowners.
Today, Sens. Ossoff, Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, introduced the bipartisan Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder (HELPER) Act of 2023 to help first responders & teachers buy their first home.
The bipartisan bill would establish a new, one-time use home loan program under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for first responders and teachers to purchase their first home — modeled after a similar & successful VA home loan program.
The HELPER Act would address the housing affordability crisis by eliminating the upfront home purchase costs and the monthly mortgage insurance premium for those who serve our communities — including teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians.
“I’m working across the aisle to support Georgia’s teachers, first responders, and law enforcement officers by making homeownership more affordable for public servants who teach our kids and protect our families,” said Sen. Ossoff.
“Homeownership is a cornerstone of the American Dream. Our public servants’ ability to reside in the neighborhoods they serve is crucial to the strength and resilience of our communities. As already high housing prices continue to rise, the HELPER Act would ensure that our teachers and first responders can own a home in the communities they dutifully serve,” Senator Rubio said.
“Our teachers, firefighters, law enforcement, and first responders protect and serve our communities. Yet I hear from officers and educators in Ohio that too often they can’t find an affordable place to live in the city or county where they work,” said Senator Brown, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “When we make housing more affordable for teachers and first responders, we improve recruitment for these crucial jobs, and we give more Ohio families a shot at the middle class.”
Representatives John Rutherford (R-FL) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) introduced companion bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives. The bill is also backed in the Senate by Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
The bipartisan bill is also endorsed by the Georgia Municipal Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Georgia, American Association of State Troopers (AAST), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), National Education Association (NEA), National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), and National Troopers Coalition (NTC).
“Senator Ossoff has always been a champion for firefighters. The HELPER Act will be a much-needed home buying benefit for our country’s firefighters, teachers, and other first responders. Georgia firefighters are thankful for Senator Ossoff’s leadership and continued support for Georgia’s firefighters,” said Nate Bailey, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Georgia.
“Working to increase access to and affordability of housing is one of the greatest concerns for city officials in all 537 cities across Georgia. It is vitally important that residents, including essential government workers who are on the front lines in our communities every day, are not displaced by rising housing costs. The HELPER Act provides a bipartisan solution to the housing affordability crisis and includes common sense provisions that remove barriers to affordable housing. Georgia Municipal Association stands in support of this important legislation as it represents another tool in bolstering access and improving affordability for public servants who teach our children and protect our communities,” said Larry H. Hanson, CEO and Executive Director of the Georgia Municipal Association.
“Many of our nation’s first responders and educators face financial obstacles when trying to buy a home in today’s competitive housing market, often making it difficult for them to live in the community they serve. The HELPER Act makes homeownership a reality for teachers, paramedics, EMTs, law enforcement officers, and firefighters,” said Congressman John Rutherford (FL-05). “Modeled after the successful VA home loan program, the HELPER Act eliminates requirements for a down payment and a monthly mortgage insurance premium, removing some of the barriers preventing first responders and educators from purchasing a home.”
“The nation continues to lean on the sacrifices and bravery of everyday, hardworking Americans — first responders, nurses, America’s educators, and other public-sector employees — it’s time for us to recognize their needs and create opportunities for them to own homes,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). “It’s time we eliminated the barriers that make it so difficult for our teachers and frontline workers to secure housing, and the HELPER Act does just that.”
“America’s best are drowning and we can’t leave them behind. It’s time for us to honor the brave heroes of the schools and streets by reducing the financial burdens accompanied with homeownership. I’m grateful to Senator Rubio and Senator Ossoff for their support in turning this common-sense bill into a legislative reality,” said Samuel P. Royer, president of Salute Home Loans & U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
Sen. Ossoff continues to work to address Georgia’s housing affordability crisis in the U.S. Senate.
Last year, Sen. Ossoff secured a commitment from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Rural Development, Xochitl Torres Small, to help increase the supply of affordable housing in Georgia.
Click here to read the bipartisan HELPER Act.